The Ohio Medical Cannabis Act of 2012 creates governmental bodies to regulate, control and enforce the mission of this proposed Amendment. The Cannabis Commission is designed to prevent access to medical cannabis by those not authorized to use it, while raying upon and mirroring existing laws in the Ohio Revised Code.
The OMCA 2012 must submit its ballot language and an “fair and truthful” summary of the ballot for approval by the Ohio Attorney General. Along with this submission we need 1000 signatures of registered voters. You can help!
Any registered Ohio voter can be a petitioner and we hope you’ll help.
After you download the petition and guidelines, please tell us about yourself! Signing up for our Petitioner’s Newsletter and we’ll keep you up to date with the latest campaign news. This is not our general mailing list but provides information just for petitioners!
NOTE: These signatures do not count towards the several hundred thousand needed to place the issue on the ballot. This is the initial petition for approval of our summary and those who sign this must sign again on the future petition to have themselves counted in the final vote
DEADLINE: JULY 5TH 2011
The Ohio Medical Cannabis Act of 2012
Our amendment mirrors the proven regulatory business structure of the Ohio State Liquored Control Board. While the infrastructure may be similar, the rules and regulations to be applied are specifically written for the strict control of medical cannabis. A well regulated, state-wide system governing the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of medical cannabis for the sole benefit of Ohio’s sick and dying, provides the strongest form of protection for patients and the citizens of Ohio.
Modeling a regulatory system upon existing, proven law provides “uniformity of legislation,” which further increases the degree of protection for patients, caretakers and their providers of medical cannabis.
The Ohio Liquor Control Board and their governing laws, now 77 years old, are well known and understood by Ohioans, police departments, prosecutors, the courts and local elected officials. This uniformity of legislation leaves no legal gray areas. There are 77 years of legal precedence from which the courts can draw opinions. Therefore there is little chance for misunderstandings and confusion over how these laws will work for medical marijuana. This will dramatically reduce the chances of anyone being improperly arrested and prosecuted when following the law.
The Ohio Commission of Cannabis Control
This commission is empowered to oversee the Division of Cannabis Control, the Superintendent of Cannabis Control and to create rules and regulations necessary to fulfill the mission of the Ohio Medical Cannabis Act of 2012. The commission’s core infrastructure is based upon the Ohio Commission of Liquor Control. By serving the public interest in this fashion, the Amendment relieves the Ohio General Assembly from having to dedicate time and effort to developing it’s own unique rules and regulations through legislation.
While the governing infrastructure of the Ohio Commission of Cannabis Control is modeled off of the Ohio Commission of Liquor Control, the rules to be enforced are by no means the same and are written to greatly support the rights of patients while preventing access for recreational use and protecting those providing this medication.
The Commissioners and How They Are Appointed
The Governor will appoint nine commissioners from a list of expert candidates presented by the reprisentatives of Ohio’s seven medical colleges, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and the Ohio Bar Association, and from applications submitted by patients, medical cannabis cultivators and entrepreneurs. Other representatives of the state will also be seated as non-voting ex-officio members, so as to represent all stakeholders in the state: law enforcement, public health officials, the Attorney General, the Ohio Senate, and the Ohio House of Representatives.
To the greatest extent as possible, due in part to how these commissioners are chosen, this commission will be science-based, objective, practical and devoid of the partisan and political discrimination.
The Ohio Division of Cannabis Control
Based upon the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, this body will assist the commission by establishing standards, putting in place the regulatory staff and enforcing the laws and rules related to the business of cannabis in the state using trained agents acting in the same manner as liquor control agents.
All agents will be trained and each must attend and obtain certificates from educational organizations, like Oaksterdam University, showing that they have studied and fully understand all the issues involved in the field of medical cannabis.
The Division of Cannabis Control, like the Division of Liquor Control will accept, review and issue all permits. This includes developing a system to provide patients, caretakers and commercial permit holders with confidential registration photo identification cards and creating a secure, confidential verification system for use by law enforcement.
The Superintendent of Cannabis Control
Appointed by the Director of the Department of Commerce, this individual will be responsible for operating the Division of Cannabis Control.
An Exceptional Standard of Excellence
This proposed system of regulatory bodies contains all the checks and balances required to assure the public interest is well served. The Commission, Superintendent and Division of Liquor Control, with its 144 employees, is today considered one of the most effective and efficient state governmental bodies in the United States. This level of excellence has made Ohio’s liquor agency a subject for privatization by Ohio Governor Kasich.
By following this excellent regulatory model, with uniformity of legislation, we are assured the Commission, Superintendent and Division of Cannabis Control will serve the public interest with an equal standard of excellence.
Keeping Black-Marketers Out of the Business
A concern is the assurance that those participating in the state’s new medical cannabis programs are safe, both legally and from the harms associated with the black-market.
We do not want people involved in this program who are willing to break laws in order to enhance the ill-gotten proceeds of their illegal trade. Organized crime, violence, theft, fraud, blackl, etc. will have no place, nor opportunity in this new program designed to benefit the sick and dying of Ohio.
To assure these criminal elements are excluded requires regulatory vigilance and dedicated enforcement; the same used to govern and regulate Ohio’s liquor laws, of which have worked well for over 77 years.
Background Checks and Fingerprinting
The Ohio Division of Liquor Control issues 24,000 liquor permits each year to Ohio businesses. To obtain a liquor permit, the applicant must submit fingerprints and have a background check conducted by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Again, by adopting uniformity of legislation, we mandate the same for those applying for commercial permits from the Ohio Division of Cannabis control.
Excluded Felony Offense
The Ohio Division of Liquor Control excludes all persons with felony convictions from obtaining a liquor permit. Special consideration for a permit applicant with a felony conviction on a case-by-case basis is permitted and we propose the same.
A person convicted for felony marijuana crimes is excempt if the conduct which lead to their prosecution would likely have been legal under the provisions of this ammendment. For example, a chronically ill person convicted of treating themselves with medical cannabis will be allowed to apply for a permit. Also, a person convicted in another state for a felony marijuana crime will be exempt from this rule if that crime would be considered a misdemeanor in Ohio, or if the completion of sentence occurred more than ten years prior to the application for a permit.
Local Option Laws
To assure these proposed laws are thoroughly enforced, there will be uniformety throughout the state. We understand that local officials will appreciate not being forced to develop their own laws, rules and regulations for medical cannabis.The need for local legeslation in other medical marijuana states, has lead to many complications. We avoid this and consequently save our state’s 2,800 independent political bodies of 20,000 elected officials from effectively “re-inventing the wheel.”
We realize that some localities in the state may wish to not allow medical cannabis retail establishments. Just as townships may not wish to permit the sale of spirituous beverages, citizens may ban there presence using the same Local Option Laws designed to designate a “Dry” township. If this is the case, voters of a precinct may elect to place upon their local ballot a measure giving the voters in that precinct the right to choose.
In order to better regulate and control the business of medical cannabis in Ohio, this Amendment mandates all banks licensed by the Ohio Department of Commerce provide the same banking services to medical cannabis commercial permit holders as any other customer. Banks are not mandated under this initiative to provide loans.
PATIENT RIGHTS & PROTECTIONS
The Ohio Medical Cannabis Act of 2012 will provide Ohio’s sick and dying safe access to medical cannabis for the treatment and alleviation of their pain and suffering.
Patients will be allowed to possess 200 grams of usable cannabis (presently a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and/or $250 fine). Patients may also cuultivate 12 mature cannabis plants. The cost of a patient ID card will be no more than double the cost of a drivers license [a maximum of roughly $50 today]. Patients from other medical cannabis states with a valid ID will be recognized in Ohio and must adhere to the provisions of this ammendment.
Aside of the freedom from arrest and imprisonment by the state, there is no more important right for a patient than the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In short, this federal law ensures the rights of patients to keep private and confidential all information regarding their health, healthcare practices and their doctor patient relationships.
This Amendment guarantees to patients the rights to keep all information, records and data concerning aspects of their medical conditions and use of medical cannabis private and confidential. No person or state agency shall force a patient to waive their HIPAA rights, either by inducement or mandate.
Qualifying Medical Conditions
All federally approved medical conditions for the use of medical cannabis covered under the federal Compassionate Investigational New Drug program, begun in 1978 and continuing to this date, including but not limited to:
- Multiple Congenital Cartilaginous Exostosis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Nail-patella Syndrome
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Added to the Amendment are:
- Any terminal patient or person with a terminal condition
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Celiac Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Hepatitis C
- Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD)
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Injury or disease to the spinal cord, spinal column, or vertebra; or the treatment of these conditions.
- Those suffering from a “Debilitating medical condition.”
“Debilitating medical condition” means one or more of the following: All federally approved medical conditions for the use of medical cannabis covered under the federal Compassionate Investigational New Drug program, including but not limited to: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe or chronic pain; severe or chronic nausea; seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy; and severe or persistent muscle spasms.
The Commission may add new medical conditions to the qualifying list and individuals can petition the Commission to consider an additional medical condition.
Special Circumstances for Non-Qualifying Medical Conditions
A physician may petition the Commission’s Medical Committee to allow a patient under their care whose medical condition is not listed as qualifying, but feels medical cannabis might provide a benefit, to obtain an ID. This allows for numerous “orphan” diseases and rare medical conditions that doctors often have difficulty treating, to qualify a patient for a medical ID card. Under these circomstances, the Commission may approve or deny the petition, or require the doctor to submit follow up reports and/or specify the unique conditions.
As an example, topical applications of medical cannabis have shown remarkably positive results in tests as a treatment for the often fatal, antibiotic-resistant MRSA disease. This is due in part to the strong antibiotic properties in some cultivars of cannabis that initiate apoptosis, or regulated cell death. In this case, the Commission may grant the ID, allow an ID with a limited expiration date, or limit the patient to only purchasing topical ointments containing medical cannabis.
For Terminal Patients and Patients with a Terminal Condition
Being terminally ill for any reason or cause, is listed as an official medical condition in our Amendment. This is a first for medical cannabis laws in the United States!
A “terminal condition” means that, even though there may be times when a condition is in remission, in all likelihood it will eventually lead to death. In this circomstance, the patient may obtain a permanent patient ID card without the required expiration and renewal requirements.
A caretaker, as defined in this Amendment, is a patient’s family member, a person who lives in the same residence as the patient, or a person holding the patient’s medical power of attorney who is age twenty-one years or older and agrees to assist their patient with the medical use of cannabis. Caretakers may obtain a confidential registration identification card allowing them to purchase, posses and transport medical cannabis for the patient under their care. This Amendment recognizes the special and extraordinary responsibilities taken on by one who cares for the sick and attempts to make their lives easier. A caretaker may also apply for a patient ID card in assistance of their patient.
Patient ID Cards – No Waiting
This Amendment allows a patient to obtain a confidential registry photo ID card the same day they obtain a written certificate from their doctor and to obtain medical cannabis that same day. Patients may apply for and obtain their ID card from their local Deputy Registrars Office. The patient can, if they choose, mail an application to the Division and wait for a response.
A Seasonal Outdoor Cultivation Permit
This Amendment recognizes that the often expensive costs for medical cannabis can be dramatically reduced if the patient is able to cultivate their own medical cannabis. It also recognizes that Ohio’s climatic and soil conditions are among the finest on earth for cultivating cannabis. As such, this Amendment allows the Division to issue a special seasonal permit to patients, allowing them to keep the total harvest from a yearly outdoor cultivation of 12 mature cannabis plants for personal use. The patient may keep the entire harvest, even though a seasonal harvest might produce more useable cannabis than otherwise allowed under the 200 gram limit.
Patients are not required to obtain an outdoor cultivation permit cultivate 12 mature cannabis plants, but they cannot exceed the 200 gram limit for usable medical cannabis. If a patient wishes to grow their own medical cannabis, they must designate their cultivation site on their yearly patient application form.
Driving while Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID)
Patients shall not be permitted to drive while impaired under the influence of medical cannabis. The penalties are sever and rightly so. However, this ammendment states that “until and unless the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration develops and mandates standardized tests for operating a vehicle under the influence of cannabis, a registered qualified patient shall fail a generally accepted field sobriety tests given by law enforcement personnel, which shall be captured on a video recording devise for court proceedings, before the patient can be suspect of driving under the influence;”
A provision in our state’s DUID laws regarding the presence of metabolites from a “controlled substance” in the blood, offers the following exemption, “The person obtained the controlled substance pursuant to a prescription issued by a licensed health professional authorized to prescribe drugs.” For the purpose of this Amendment we change the word “prescription” to “written recommendation.”
The Patient / Employer Relationship
Ohio is an “At Will” state and you can be fired for showing up late, or your choice of attire. However, there are specific anti-discrimination laws that prevent an employer from disciplining or firing their employees for race, sex, age, etc. and the Ohio Medical Cannabis Act adds new anti-discrimination language that prevents workplace abuses and allows a medical marijuana patient to bring suit if they were blatantly discriminated. However, workplace use of medical marijuana can be banned and the proposed law also provides clear language for employers to assure and protect their companies and fellow employees from any harm. Also, it will not protect a medical marijuana employee who is in a safety-sensitive position, i.e. transportation, law enforcement, etc
The Limits of Our Amendment for Patients
Due to the State’s prohibition against the recreational use of marijuana and the blanket federal prohibitions in general, this Amendment requires certain provisions we would rather not impose upon the sick and dying. But to make this system work, to protect patients from the evil of the black-market, and to provide the best possible protections for the citizens of Ohio, this Amendment proposes certain compromises.
A Sales Tax on Medical Cannabis
Culinary herbs are the only herbs exempt from sales tax in Ohio and cannabis isn’t a culinary herb. Cannabis would be listed as “an herb or other botanical” and classified as a “dietary supplement” that is taxable. Medical cannabis will be taxed the same as all other non-culinary herbs sold in the state, suck as bloodroot, St. John’s worth, goldenseal, wormwood etc.
For cannabis to be listed as a “medicine” and exempt from Ohio sales tax requires the creation of specific regulations by the US Food and Drug Administration, and this Amendment unfortunately doesn’t apply to federal agencies.
Keep in mind that the estimated annual purchases for medical cannabis in Ohio will help create upwards of 10,000 new jobs, and the funds paid in county and state sales taxes will pay for hundreds of city and state employees.
Limit on Patient’s Purchase of Medical Cannabis to 60 Grams
Preventing the diversion of medical cannabis to the black-market and into the hands of those unauthorized to use it.
The Ohio Division of Liquor Control sets the minimum price of beer to reduce the possibilities of diversion. Beer could be sold for 10 cents a can, but that would encourage people to buy and resell for a profit. This would allow it to get into the hands of children. We do not wish to allow the Commission of Medical Cannabis to set the price of medical cannabis in Ohio. However, we understand the wisdom to control pricing as a means to help prevent diversion. This is another instance of uniformety of legeslation.
Patients will be allowed to posses up to 200 grams, roughly half a pound. If they could purchase that amount, they would rightly expect and get a dramatically reduced wholesale price.
In order to help prevent patients from arrest, legal entanglements and involvement with the black-market, this Amendment limits the amount allowed to be purchased by patients and their caretakers to 60 grams. It doesn’t matter if a patient purchases 200 grams in one day from four different sources, but obviously, they will not receive a dramatically discounted wholesale price for their multiple purchases.
The Cultivation of Medical Cannabis in Ohio
All medical cannabis grown in Ohio must be kept in an enclosed and locked facility. An enclosed and locked facility means a room, building, greenhouse, or garden, equipped with locks and kept locked whenever the cardholder is away. Outdoor cultivation sites must also be screened to obstruct the view of cannabis plants from the outside at ground level.
Patients may grow up to 12 mature cannabis plants and are not required to obtain a commercial cultivation permit.
“Mature cannabis plant” means a cannabis plant that has undergone botanical sexual differentiation as shown by having flower buds that are readily observable by unaided visual examination with the excemption of perscription eyeware.
“Immature cannabis plant” means a cannabis plant that has not yet undergone botanical sexual differentiation and therefore not a mature cannabis plant.
Cannabis plants, useable cannabis, etc. shall not be shall not be seized or forfeited if possessed according to the rules of this Amendment and “This Amendment shall not prevent the seizure or forfeiture of cannabis or cannabis plants which exceed the amounts allowed under this Amendment,”
Commercial Cultivation Permits
Except for patients who grow their own, all medical cannabis cultivated in Ohio will be limited to those obtaining yearly permits from the Division.
Individuals, age twenty one years or older, free of any excluded felony convictions and holding a valid vendor’s license, may apply for a yearly commercial cultivation permit.
If grown in an area zoned residential, the permit limits the grow to a maximum number of mature cannabis plants allowed by the sum of two patients. If grown in an area zoned for agriculture, commercial enterprises or industrial activities, the permit limits the grow to a maximum number of mature cannabis plants allowed the sum of eight patients.
Classification of Commercial Permits Issued by the Division
A “Designated Cultivator:” This is known in other states by the euphemism of “caregiver.” The fee for this permit will be double the cost of a driver’s license ($50) for each registered qualified patient the designated cultivator registers under their permit and up to a maximum of eight patients will be allowed. Designated Cultivator Permit Fee: from $50 to $400, depending on the number of patients served.
A “Medical Cannabis-Infused Product Manufacturer:” These products include traditional tinctures, oils, lotions and edible products etc. These non-smoked products are extremely important to many patients.
This cultivation permit allows a maximum number of mature cannabis plants equal to the number allowed for eight patients.This permit also allows the holder to contract with another holder of a cultivation permit to obtain sufficient amounts of cannabis to manufacture their cannabis-infused products.
An applicant for this permit must have their manufacturing site inspected for cleanliness and sanitation by the applicant’s local Department of Public Health and licensed by Department of Agriculture, depending upon the nature of the products being manufactured. A copy of the site inspection and the food preparation license is required for application.
Additional regulations require products be sealed and labeled with a list of all ingredients used in the manufacture and the label to clearly read, “This Product Contains Medical Cannabis.” These products are not exempt from sales taxes. Cultivation Permit Fee $50. Operation Permit Fee $76.
An “Agricultural Cooperative:” This state chartered, not-for-profit organization allows patients, caretakers and volunteers to work together. They can cultivate cannabis plants and distribute useable cannabis only to the registered qualified patient members of the cooperative. The organization shall not possess more useable cannabis nor cultivate more mature cannabis plants than allowed the sum of its patient membership. Cultivation Permit Fee $50. Operation Permit Fee $76.
A “Scientific Research Laboratory:” This permit holder tests cardholders’ cannabis for purity, cannabinoid content, horticultural contaminants, etc. It also allows for the research and development of new and useful cultivars of cannabis and selling seeds, germplasm, cuttings and clones. This does not allow the sale of useable cannabis. This permit allows growing no more mature plants than allowed for eight patients.
The reason for creating a permit for the combination of testing cannabis and germplasm research is to encourage the capital investment in scientific equipment for testing, which would also be extraordinarily useful for the development of new and useful cultivars and to provide an addition income stream to help pay off the hefty expense of the scientific equipment. Cultivation Permit Fee $50. Operation Permit Fee $76.
A Safety Compliance and Educational Facility: This permit allows an organization to do any and all things allowed under this Amendment, including the use of medical cannabis by registered qualified patients for demonstration purposes on the grounds of the registered premises. Its goal is to provide the highest value and worth of an educational experience to cardholders, interested individuals and employees of the division and department. This cultivation permit allows the cultivation of no more mature cannabis plants than allowed eight patients. This permit does not allow the sale of useable cannabis.
Only seven permits in this class will be issued and locations will be spread around the state. Cultivation Permit Fee $50. Operational Permit Fee $1,563
A “Medical Cannabis Retail Establishment:” The requirements to obtain these permits are extensive and there are a limited number of permits allowed. The application and the process for granting these permits are not easy. Applications will be reviewed, weighed and scored by the division, then turned over to the commission who will pick the best applicants for permits.
The cultivation permit follows the same rule required of vineyards by the Ohio Division of Liquor Control. The permit holder shall cultivate no less than sixty percent of the usable cannabis they dispense to patients and may obtain a maximum of forty percent of their usable cannabis by contracting with other cultivation permit holders.
A few regulations of note include: just like our state’s liquor laws, the location of a retail establishment may not be within five hundred feet of a school, church, library or public playground; the types of signage and advertising have certain restrictions; security, safety and record keeping requirements are extensive; and all employees must be licensed and trained. There a lot of dos and don’ts.
The total number of permits initially granted will be 471 state-wide, roughly equal to and following the same formula for the number of State Agency Liquor Stores in Ohio. One is allowed in each county with an additional allowed in each county for each 30,000 citizens in that county. In practice, the total number will be less because nearly half the counties in Ohio do not have a population large enough to support a medical cannabis retail establishment.
Voters may ban a medical cannabis retail establishment using existing Local Option Laws as briefly described elsewhere in this document. Cultivation Permit Fee $1,563. Operational Permit Fee $1,563.
Contracts Between Permit Holders
Cultivation permit holders may sell useable cannabis, plants, infused products, etc. to other permit holders under specific regulations noted in this Amendment and under reporting rules to be established by the Commission. An excise fee of 1% shall be charged on each transaction conducted between permit holders and paid to the Division.
Commercial permit holders many also obtain additional permits from another class of permits. For example, a co-op may also obtain a cannabis-infused products manufacturing permit.