Ohio may have not one, but two, medical marijuana issues on the 2012 ballot, according to the Columbus Dispatch. If either state constitutional amendment passes, Ohio will become the 16th state to permit medical marijuana usage as an alternative pain medication.
The Ohio Medical Cannabis Act of 2012 (OMCA) measure was approved for petition circulation by the Ohio Ballot Board on Wednesday. Results from an unscientific poll conducted on the Central Ohio newspaper's websites indicated that 85 percent of respondents support the ballot issues.
Here are some facts and figures about Ohio's medical marijuana ballot proposals:
* The Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment of 2012 group has until July 6 to garner the 385,245 valid voter signatures to place the measure on the fall ballot, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
* Last fall the Ohio Ballot Board approved the Ohio Alternative Treatment Amendment for petition circulation. The proposals are very similar, according to the Dispatch. Both proposed amendments request altering the Ohio Constitution to permit marijuana usage by patients in chronic pain.
* Conditions which would qualify for the organic treatment method in both bills include Alzheimer's, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's, arthritis, post-traumatic stress, Tourette's, epilepsy, sickle cell anemia, hepatitis C, cancer and AIDS, according to the OMCA website.
* The Medical Cannabis Amendment does not place limits on the amount of marijuana an approved patient could grow or purchase. The regulation of marijuana usage amounts in the proposal would be determined later by regulatory commission, according to the organization's website.
* The Alternative Treatment Amendment seeks to include specific usage details in the Ohio Constitution as soon as the law is implemented. The amendment would permit an individual patient to possess 3.5 ounces of marijuana, says the organization's website. Marijuana sell or purchasing fees are also detailed in the amendment proposal. Licenses medical cannabis sellers could not operate within 1,000 feet of churches, recreation centers, schools or substance abuse treatment facilities.
* The Drug Free Alliance organization based in Columbus does not support either medical marijuana proposal. Executive Director Marcie Seidel told the Columbus Dispatch that medication approvals should not be a part of either a legislative or ballot issue. Seidel feels that the proper process should involve approvals solely by the Food and Drug Administration.
* The Ohio Cannabis Amendment supports creating a marijuana regulatory structure which mirrors the state's existing alcohol control laws. Both amendments require that approved patients be adults and have a valid prescription for the alternative organic medication, according to the OMCA website.
* The Ohio ballot issues may not be necessary if proposed federal legislation gains passage. A bill designed to end marijuana prohibition on a national level was presented for the first time, according to the Marijuana Policy Project website. If passed HR2306 would treat marijuana production, usage and sale in much the same manner as alcohol. The proposed legislation mirrors state medical compassion laws.