Ohio Becomes 25th Medical Marijuana State

25th Medical Marijuana State

COLUMBUS, Ohio (CRN) – 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.

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards has agreed to match Louisiana’s drug laws to conform with its medical marijuana program, so someone who gets the therapeutic drug legally can’t be prosecuted. The governor’s office announced this week that Edwards signed the bill by Republican Sen. Fred Mills into law. It takes effect Aug. 1. The measure aims to protect patients of the state-sponsored medical marijuana program from laws that penalize people for possession or distribution of marijuana. It also extends that protection to a patient’s caregiver and the parents of a minor who receives medical marijuana. The final version of the bill passed with a 29-7 Senate vote and 67-21 House vote. Louisiana is still 18 months or more away from getting medical marijuana into patients’ hands.

LANSING, Michigan (CRN) – 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 (CRN) – 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.

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Alaska regulators are poised to award the first licenses for legal marijuana businesses in the state, another milestone for the fledgling industry. Thursday’s meeting agenda for the Marijuana Control Board includes 30 applications that will be up for consideration, two of which are for testing facilities. The rest are for grow operations. The board has taken a staggered approach to licensing, focusing first on grow and testing facilities to help ensure there will be legally grown marijuana available for when the first retail stores are authorized. Cynthia Franklin, director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office, has said that a crop life is estimated at 90 days, and regulators are looking at September to begin issue retail licenses.

NEW YORK, New York (AP) – In a book filled with explicit stories of sex, drugs and violence, Bobby Brown’s memoir includes allegations about the late Whitney Houston ranging from smoking pot with their then-teenage daughter to having an affair with Tupac Shakur. In “Every Little Step,” Brown describes in detail his tumultuous years with Houston and the estrangement from their daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, after their divorce. He disputes reports that he was responsible for Houston’s drug problems and harshly criticizes her family and others around her for keeping him from their daughter. Brown’s daughter from his relationship with Kim Ward, LaPrincia Brown, alleges in the book that she was in a car with Houston, Bobbi Kristina and Nick Gordon, Bobbi’s boyfriend at the time; when “things got real strange.” “They all started smoking pot together,” she recalled. “Yes, she (Houston) was smoking with them.”