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What is Marijuana:  Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa.  The plant contains the mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydocannabinol (THC)and other related compounds.  Extracts with high amounts of THC can also be made from the cannabis plant.


Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the US and in Ohio.  According to the 2014 National Survey of Drug Use and Health:

  • Marijuana use in the past month increased from 6.2% in 2002 to 8.4% (approximately 22.2 million people) in 2014 among people aged 12 or older.  The average of past month users aged 12 or older in Ohio of 11.6% was higher than the national average.
  • Marijuana use was most prevalent among people aged 18 to 25 (with 19.6% using it in the past month).  The percentage of Ohio users in this age group was 30.6% for use in the past month.
  • 7.4% of people aged 12 to 17 reported marijuana use in the past month.  Again, youth using marijuana in the past month (11.1%) as higher than the national average.

Marijuana is ingested in a variety of ways.  It can be smoked, vaped, mixed in food (edibles), or brewed in a tea.  A newly popular method of use is smoking or eating THC-rich resins called extracts.  These extracts can deliver extremely large amounts of THC to users, and their use has sent some people to the emergency room.

Effects of Marijuana Use:  Marijuana has both short term and long term effects on the brain.

Short-term effects are usually felt from 30 minutes to an hour after the THC reaches the persons’ brain.  Marijuana over-activates brain receptors causing the “high” that people feel.  Other effects include altered senses, altered sense of time, changes in mood, impaired body movement, difficulty thinking or problem-solving and impaired memory.

Long term use may have a wide range of effects, both physical and mental, which include breathing illnesses, possible harm to a fetus’s brain in pregnant users, hallucinations and paranoia, and can be addictive.

Long term marijuana users trying to quit report withdrawal symptoms that make quitting difficult.  These include: grouchiness, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and cravings.

The health impacts of marijuana are currently the subject of significant public debate.  While past data has suggested links to substance use disorders, mood disorders, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders, the only association of marijuana that remains statistically significant across all analysis was with substance use disorders including alcohol, nicotine dependence, cannabis dependence and other drug use disorders.

When can people can start using marijuana as medicine? 
Ninety days after the bill allowing Medical Marijuana is signed, people will be allowed to use “medical” marijuana bought in other states.

How will marijuana be regulated in Ohio?
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy, the Ohio Department of Commerce and the Medical Board will oversee components of the program.
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy will:

  • Adopt all rules for the dispensaries, including training requirements of employees of dispensaries
  • Specify the forms of using medical marijuana that are attractive to children
  • Specify by form and THC content, a maximum 90-day supply of medical marijuana that may be possessed
  • Establish the number of dispensary licenses that will be permitted
  • Adopt other rules for implementation

The Ohio Department of Commerce will:

  • Manage the requirements for the economic functions of the industry
  • Adopt rules regarding the licensure of cultivators within 240 days after the Governor signs the bill
  • Specify when testing of marijuana will be conducted, as well as minimum amounts and distribution of test results

The Medical Board will:

  • Create a licensure program for physicians prior to recommending marijuana to patients

Who sits on the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee?
The Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee will consist of 14 members and will exist for five years before dissolving. The Committee is made up of:

  • Two pharmacists, with at least one supporting medical marijuana
  • Two physicians, with at least one supporting medical marijuana
  • Law enforcement representative
  • Employer representative
  • Labor representative
  • Mental Health treatment representative
  • Nurse
  • Caregiver representative
  • Patient representative
  • Agriculture representative
  • Alcohol and other drug addiction treatment representative
  • Academic researcher

Who appoints the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee?
The Governor will appoint:

  • Two physician members
  • Two pharmacist members
  • Employer representative
  • Agriculture representative
  • Alcohol and other drug addiction treatment representative

The Senate President will appoint:

  • Law enforcement representative
  • Caregiver representative

The Senate Minority Leader will appoint:

  • Nurse

The Speaker of the House will appoint:

  • Patient representative
  • Mental Health Treatment representative

The House Minority Leader will appoint:

  • Labor representative

Date that the marijuana program will be fully operational:
Two years after the bill’s effective date

How can a person obtain marijuana?
A certified physician will be able to recommend marijuana for a variety of conditions set forth in the bill. There is no allowance for home grows

What conditions are qualifying for a medical marijuana card in Ohio?
AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, Parkinson’s disease, positive status for HIV, post-­traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourette’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury and ulcerative colitis

How much marijuana can a person have?
A person can have a 90-day supply, with a physician making the determination of how much a person can have.

What forms of marijuana can a person use?
Oils, tinctures, plant material, edibles, patches and any other form approved by the Board of Pharmacy. Smoking is not permitted under this law, however, vaporization is permitted.

What are the THC levels that a person can obtain?
Marijuana will have a maximum 35% THC content for “plant matter” and extracts can have up to 70%. Even though people have not had an overdose on marijuana, high THC levels have been linked to earlier onset of psychosis and schizophrenia when a person begins using in their teeris, specifically high potency marijuana.

Can a local ordinance prohibit dispensaries in a community?
Yes. Dispensaries cannot lie within 500 feet of a school, place of worship, public library, playground or public park.

Can a person be dismissed from their job for marijuana use?
Yes. An employer does not have to permit marijuana use of any employee, even if they are a medical marijuana “patient.”

Source: Drug Free Action Alliance