Known as the Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment (OMCA), this initiative would allow certified patients with diseases such as cancer, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, etc to use medical marijuana to ease their symptoms.
The OMCA Political Action Committee gathered 2,365 signatures, well more than the 1,000 valid signatures required to certify a petition. Next, the ballot board must validate the signatures and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine must review and approve the language and summary of the amendment. A decision is due by September 16. If approved, the group could then begin the second phase of the process to put an issue to a statewide vote: gathering signatures from more than 345,000 registered voters. The group would have until July 5, 2012 to gather these signatures to qualify the amendment for the November ballot.
A recent University of Cincinnati Institute for Policy Research poll found that 73% of Ohioans support the right of qualified patients to use medical marijuana. With these kinds of statistics the group is confident that if the issue makes it on the ballot, the amendment will become state law. The bill is similar to medical marijuana laws in other states, patients with a physician’s recommendation for medical marijuana could obtain an ID card which would let them grow their own marijuana, have a state-licensed caregiver grow it for them, or obtain it at a state-licensed dispensary.
The law would create a Commission of Cannabis Control to develop the regulatory system and determine fees for cultivation licenses and patient ID cards. The law would also create a Division of Cannabis Control to regulate the cultivation, distribution, and sale of medical marijuana. A recent study from the Marijuana Policy Project found that “state medical marijuana programs have generally had no trouble covering their expenses and have even generated substantial surpluses”. This Division would be self-sustaining and would ensure that the medical marijuana industry is regulated by those familiar with the medical marijuana industry, and not by police. The language in the bill has been vetted by doctors, lawyers, and patients and the PAC is confident that the OMCA will soon be certified.
The OMCA is the second petition for medical marijuana that has been submitted to the attorney general in the past ten weeks.
Author; Will Huber