Of Course There Are Two Medical Marijuana Initiatives For Ohio
A couple of weeks ago, Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) announced the details of their planned medical marijuana initiative for the state of Ohio. The Buckeye State had infamously rejected legalizing recreational and medical marijuana last year because Nick Lachey might get rich, but within that electoral drubbing was the polling information that showed overwhelming support for medical marijuana.
MPP’s initiative is largely cut-and-paste from some of the better medical marijuana laws they’ve been successful in passing throughout America. But there are a few stinkers in there from some of their lesser medical marijuana laws as well.
MPP’s got the funding and the experience. They’ve passed several medical marijuana laws; this one is one of their better iterations and would be the best medical marijuana law east of the Mississippi. They’ve hired three longtime local activists from NORML, the Ohio Rights Group, and the former Issue 3 campaign. They’re proposing a law far better than what the Ohio legislature offered: a cannabidiol, no-whole-plant medical marijuana proposal.
So, of course, MPP’s plan is terrible and must be dropped in favor of a competing, grassroots initiative that promises to legalize medical marijuana the right way.
Grassroots Ohio announced they are proposing their own amendment to legalize medical marijuana, which their spokesperson, Cassie Young, said is “intentionally brief”. (This comports with recent True Legalization™ criticism of California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act as being “too long” at 62 pages.) “We shouldn’t be putting regulations in our constitution,” Young told Cleveland.com. “The amendment is about protecting inherent rights of Ohioans – not enshrining business interests.”
The boogeyman of the wrong people making money on marijuana reform was the scare tactic that undermined the legalization campaign (as well as an ill-advised mascot) in Ohio last year. It’s no surprise, then, to learn the mastermind behind the Grassroots Ohio one-page medical marijuana amendment was one of the most vocal critics of last year’s Issue 3, “GW Pharmaceuticals Founder” Don Wirtshafter.
Here’s what the Grassroots Ohio initiative proposes:
That’s it. What condition qualifies you for this medical use? Apparently, it’s your belief that your cannabis is for medical use. The only requirement for a physician’s approval is for people under aged 18.
How much cannabis can you grow in your backyard for medical purposes? How much usable cannabis can you keep on hand? It doesn’t say; apparently, it is limitless.
Those medical rights “shall not be infringed” and active THC isn’t evidence of impairment, so does that mean the 18-year-old who believes he needs cannabis for anxiety and is carrying a quarter-pound of it while puffing a joint and driving is safe from any police interference?
The heart part of me loves this Grassroots Ohio initiative. No doctor’s notes, age 18 and up, toking and driving is legal, what’s not to love?
But the head part of me says there is no way in hell Ohioans would vote for such a measure, especially after the easy attack ads it would summon.
And the practical part of me says that this is yet another case where there’s a professional, national, funded, moderate reform initiative with a decent chance of making the ballot and passing being “primaried” once again by a grassroots, local, unfunded, True Legalization™ initiative with a tenuous chance of making the ballot and zero chance of passing.
* Caveat: they can discriminate if not doing so causes them to break a federal law or lose a benefit under federal law (like a grant or a contract).
** There is no such thing as an “active metabolite”. If THC has been metabolized, it is inactive. In fact, “inactive metabolite” is redundant. There is THC (a molecule that active in influence over human physiology) and THC-COOH (a metabolite that is inactive in influence).