Quick Hits: Ohio Becomes 25th Medical Marijuana State


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Gov. John Kasich has signed his state’s medical marijuana bill, making Ohio the 25th state to have a functioning medical marijuana program. Patients will qualify for medical marijuana with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, ALS, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome, or chronic and severe or intractable pain. While plant material will be made available alongside edibles, oils, and tinctures, patients will be forbidden from smoking marijuana, placing patients caught with burned marijuana or smoking paraphernalia at risk of ticketing and prosecution. Cultivating marijuana is still prohibited and any patients caught growing cannabis will also be subject to the criminal laws of Ohio.

LANSING, Michigan – MILegalize, the Michigan activist group seeking to legalize marijuana, has vowed to fight for its petition signatures in court. The grassroots campaigners had submitted over 354,000 signatures for their marijuana legalization proposal, needing just 252,523 to qualify for the ballot. But the Michigan Board of State Canvassers concluded that over 137,000 of those signatures were outside the statutory 180-day window for signature gathering. Current law allows petitioners to prove that older signatures were those of validly-registered voters at the time, but the Board dismissed MILegalize’s attempts to validate those signatures. Meanwhile, the legislature has passed and the governor signed a bill more strictly regulating the 180-day signature window, making future petitioning attempts even more difficult. MILegalize attorneys are suing under the principle that the 180-day window violates citizens’ First Amendment right to petition.

HAMMOND, Indiana – Attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a federal lawsuit against an Indiana county’s refusal to allow an activist group to hold marijuana legalization rallies on the courthouse grounds. Tippecanoe County in 1999 instituted a “closed forum” policy following controversy over Christmas nativity scenes at the courthouse. The ACLU suit claims the county is engaged in unconstitutional restriction of free speech at the courthouse grounds based on content, noting that other groups, such as a gun control rally, an environmental rally, an art fair, and a protest for Syrian refugees have all been held on the same grounds.

Russ Belville

"Radical" Russ Belville is a blogger, podcaster, and host of The Russ Belville Show, a daily two-hour talk radio show focused on the evolution of the legal marijuana industry in the United States. The program is airing live at 3pm Pacific Time from Portland, Oregon, on CannabisRadio.com, with podcast available on iTunes and Stitcher Radio. Russ began his marijuana activism in 2005 with Oregon NORML, then in 2009 went on to work for National NORML, and found and direct Portland NORML.in 2015.