Mike King

A bill to legalize medical marijuana in Ohio has been sent to Gov. John Kasich’s desk for final approval before becoming law. It is not known whether or not Gov. Kasich plans to sign the bill, and a spokesperson for Kasich said that the governor will need to review the bill in its final form before making a decision, according to a Columbus Dispatch report.

The measure cleared the Senate by just three votes, and the House approved the Senate-made changes shortly afterwards.

“There is no reason why we should make Ohioans suffer any longer,” said Sen. Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights), who worked closely with Sen. David Burke (R-Marysville) to squeeze the bill past opposition in the Senate.

The bill is far more restrictive than what most medical marijuana activists would prefer. As it stands, the proposal does not allow patients to smoke or grow their own medicine. Ultimately, the legislature’s bill is part of an effort to establish medical cannabis at the legislative level before activists take control of the issue during the fall elections.

That plan, however, may boil down to wishful thinking: Aaron Marshall, spokesperson for the Ohioans for Medical Marijuana campaign, said of state lawmakers that, “Their support for medical marijuana speaks volumes for eliminating any remaining biases against allowing doctors to recommend this life-enhancing treatment to patients in need.”

The Ohioans for Medical Marijuana campaign plans to continue its push for a November vote that would amend the state constitution and legalize a less restrictive program.

“This bill is not perfect, but it’s what Ohio patients need,” said Sen. Yuko.

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