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COLUMBUS, Ohio (CGE) – Chaired by the Ohio Secretary of State, The Ohio Ballot Board gave a green light Wednesday to backers of a proposed Ohio Medical Cannabis constitutional amendment.
In a letter from Betsy Luper Schuster, secretary for the OBB, to Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine, the decision by the five-member board today that the Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment contains only one proposed constitutional amendment clear the way for supporters to collect the 385,245 signatures of registered voters necessary to qualify the issue for the Nov. 6 general election ballot.
The amendment, which would legalize the purchase, possession, growth and use of marijuana for patients with qualifying medical conditions if approved by voters, represents the second proposed medical marijuana constitutional amendment that dares venture into a topic that Ohio lawmakers have avoided.
The first one, the Ohio Alternative Treatment Amendment, was approved in October.
The Medical Cannabis Amendment is primarily backed by a group of patients seeking pain relief for medical conditions. The Alternative Treatment Amendment is backed by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have some form of medical-marijuana law, reports note.
Those pushing the amendment the OBB approved today say they are a nonpartisan group of “concerned Ohio citizens who support the right of Ohio’s sick, dying and disabled to use cannabis (marijuana) as medicine, by campaigning to place the Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment on the statewide ballot and pass it in the fall 2012 election.”
“Being someone suffering from a rare chronic joint disease, I can say many patients view this as only the first essential step,” said Jessica Knight, Secretary of the University of Cincinnati’s chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, according to the organization’s website.
She said Ohio constituents “must come together and not think about their political association, yet about the patients who, with the help of Ohio voters, can finally have access to a safe and effective natural medicine that is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe everyday.”
The measure sets out eight rights to be accorded Ohio residents who will be eligible to use cannabis as medicine as a result of a diagnosed debilitating medical condition. The Amendment also establishes an Ohio Commission of Cannabis Control, she said, that will not only support, uphold and defend these rights, but to also regulate medical cannabis in Ohio.
Information about the Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment of 2012 is available at www.omca2012.org. Information about the Ohio Alternative Treatment Amendment is at www.ohiommjballot.org/hometop.html.
Information from other news sources was used in this article
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