BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (WKRC) – Medical marijuana is now legal in Ohio, but there are still more questions than answers about how the new law will work.
Patients won’t be able to buy it here for another year or two. Rules for producing, prescribing and distributing cannabis to eligible patients are expected to take up to a year to craft.
The law allows people with certain listed conditions to begin using marijuana immediately, but it’s unclear where they would legally get it, and not everyone is happy about the new law.
Several communities in Butler County are already banning or putting moratoriums on marijuana dispensaries.
While there may come a day when you see a marijuana store on a busy city street or even a strip mall, it won’t be anytime soon. In Hamilton, it may never happen because right now there is an all-out ban.
Even though Ohioans can now use marijuana for medicinal use, you still can’t grow it and you cannot go into the medical marijuana business. While some don’t like the new law, others are pleased that people who need it for medical reasons have a new option.
“I think it’s a fabulous thing; it works for kids who have seizures. I think it’s a wonderful thing,” said Joe Costanzo, who favors medical marijuana.
In recent months, Liberty and Ross townships have imposed temporary bans on medical marijuana businesses. The city of Middletown made a similar move. In 2015, the city of Hamilton took it a step further, imposing a permanent ban.
“I don’t think there should be a ban set in place for it. I think there are right ways to go about it to keep it safe for the patients who need it,” said Stephanie Melton.
Some local lawmakers imposed the temporary bans to wait and see what the guidelines for the medical marijuana program will be. Some think the city of Hamilton got too far ahead of the game and may want to rethink the all-out ban.
“I do think they need to rethink it. I think it’s more of the heroin they need to worry about, really,” Olivia Turner said.
“I’m disappointed. And this isn’t recreational-use stuff that you’re talking about; this is medicinal. It’s a whole different ball of wax from the 60s and 70s when I grew up,” said Constanzo.
We tried to contact Hamiliton’s law director to see how the ban could be impacted by the new law and whether there are any legal challenges, but our phone call were not returned.
Another question for patients who are waiting on the new rules: The law is silent on where they are supposed to get their marijuana, and it doesn’t allow people to grow their own. Bringing marijuana into Ohio from a legal state would violate federal law.
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