Despite a huge defeat in last November's last election, the movement to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio took a huge step forward on May 25, when the state senate passed a bill that would legalize the drug for medicinal purposes. The bill is set to go to the state's house of representatives, which is expected to approve it. Governor John Kasich has not said whether he would veto the bill, yet, but has expressed an interest in passing a medical marijuana bill in the past, so the bill is likely to have passed through the most difficult part of the process.
Ohio's Unique Path Towards Legalizing Marijuana
Ohio's journey towards legalizing marijuana has been far from the norm. Other states have tested the waters of legalization slowly, first allowing medicinal marijuana before considering making it legal for recreational use. Ohio, on the other hand, tried to go from banning marijuana entirely to making it legal for both medical and recreational purposes.
Additionally, whereas other states legalized marijuana by letting businesses grow and sell the drug, Ohio would have given exclusive growing and distribution rights to the handful of investors who had funded the legislative proposal. Because the legalization proposal required the state constitution to be amended, the backlash was significant. When voters took to the polls last November in Ohio, 63% of them rejected the ballot initiative.
Despite the Setback, Ohio Aims for Medical Marijuana Bill
With the ballot initiative soundly defeated, Ohio's marijuana movement has tacked towards the more well worn path of getting medical marijuana approved, first. That movement took a significant step forward when it got over its most significant hurdle, the Ohio Senate, though the bill was only passed by a three vote margin.
Implications of Ohio Approving Marijuana for Medical Usage
If the Ohio legislature passes the medical marijuana bill and Gov. Kasich signs it into law, Ohio would become the 25th state to legalize the drug for medical purposes. This would not only officially make the United States split 50/50 on the issue, but it would mean that Ohio – the epitome of a swing state – had loosened its stance on what had been, until recently, an impossible issue. If Ohio approved marijuana for medicinal purposes, it would showcase the swelling support that the movement has obtained, effectively shifting pressure onto the states that have refused to allow medicinal marijuana to justify their stance.
Defense Attorney Steve Karimi
Medical marijuana is still one of the most contentious issues in the U.S., today. Even in states where medical marijuana is allowed, though, facing criminal charges for drug possession remains a possibility. In these cases, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to fight for your rights in court can be the biggest impact on your odds of success.
If you have been charged with a drug crime in Washington, call the Seattle-based law firm of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.