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Medical marijuana ballot initiative in Ohio released by Marijuana Policy Project

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

Patients with “debilitating medical conditions” will be allowed to use medical marijuana if their doctor recommend it and patients using it will be protected from arrest and prosecution.

The list of medical conditions 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 it is approved by the Medical Marijuana Control Division, which was created to oversee the licenses.

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

Medical marijuana can be purchased by qualifying patients from licensed and regulated entities. The proposal outlines five categories of possible medical marijuana business. The 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, and child custody.

Restrictions on the medical use of marijuana, including prohibitions on the public use of and driver under the influence of marijuana is outlined in the proposal.

If this proposal is indeed approved by the Ohio Ballot Board, a signature drive will span from April to June 2016, with the goal of submitting at least 305m591 valid signatures by the first week of July.

While many patients see the proposal as a blessing, some medical professionals have 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 that 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.