READ: 2016 medical marijuana ballot initiative

Posted at 9:50 AM, Mar 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-01 18:31:36-05

Details of a 2016 ballot initiative that would allow Ohio patients to buy and grow marijuana for medical use were released Tuesday morning. 

Ohioans for Medical Marijuana released the full text of a 2016 ballot initiative that would legalize medical marijuana in the state of Ohio.

The group is backed by the DC-based Marijuana Policy Project led by Executive Director Rob Kampia. 

The initiative will allow patients with "debilitating medical conditions" to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it and protect patients from arrest and prosecution for using medicinal marijuana.

The conditions listed include:

"Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, or the treatment of these conditions; a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe debilitating pain; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to those characteristic of epilepsy; severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis."  

The proposal also says that "any other medical condition or its treatment" could be added to the list if approved by the Medical Marijuana Control Division created to oversee the licenses.

The initiative would also permit qualifying patients or their caregivers to cultivate their own marijuana for their medical use, with limits on the amount they could possess.

Qualifying patients can purchase medical marijuana from licensed and regulated entities. The proposal outlines five categories of possible medical marijuana business. They include cultivation, manufacturing, testing, distribution and dispensaries. 

"From the patient perspective, the only thing that matter is the dispensaries, which are the retail outlets," Kampia said in a teleconference Tuesday. "They’ll look like pharmacies." 

The proposal creates registry identification cards for patients.

It also has built-in protections for patients from discrimination in employment, housing, health care (such as organ transplants), and child custody.

It proposal outlines restrictions on the medical use of marijuana, including prohibitions on the public use of marijuana and driving under the influence of marijuana.

If approved by the Ohio Ballot Board, a signature drive will span from April to June of 2016, with the goal of submitting at least 305,591 valid signatures by the first week of July.

While many patients see the proposal as a blessing, some medical professions raised concerns about "smokeable medicine."

"We already have marijuana in legal form that people can take for particular diagnoses," said Dr. Christina Delos Reyes, Director of the Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship at UH Case Medical Center.  "What I’m concerned is that this is just opening up the field for people to use a smoked product to treat an unlimited number of disorders."

Reyes said marinol, a pill form of cannabis, is already used to treat complications caused by HIV and AIDS as well as severe nausea caused by cancer chemotherapy.