Last week, Ohio Governor and former Republican presidential candidate John Kasich legalized medical marijuana in the seventh most populous state in the country. In doing so, Kasich has not only given a huge boost to the cannabis movement, but also cleared the way for a new medical marijuana market and numerous business opportunities. Ohio, a swing state, is now the 26th U.S. state to legalize viable medical marijuana programs. With medical cannabis legalized in more than half of the nation, Kasich’s action could be the tipping point that could push Congress to catch up on this rapidly advancing policy area.
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In a June 10th article published by Marijuana Business Daily™, Attorney Charles Feldmann pointed out that while the DEA may not expressly react to state-level moves on cannabis legalization, Ohio’s new MMJ policy is one more reason to anticipate that marijuana could soon make the move from a Schedule I to Schedule II substance. “The magic number of 25 is significant,” said Feldmann, a former DEA agent. “But if you remember, the DEA last year said that they had all the information that they needed for this report that’s coming out.”
Congress still needs to pass legislation that would protect banks and other licensed operations that work with marijuana businesses in states where it is legal, as well as facilitate medical research on the effects of marijuana. According to Congresswoman Dina Titus of Nevada, “Whether one considers it a states’ rights issue, a criminal justice issue, or a basic fairness issue, we must move ahead.”
Medical marijuana has made huge progress in just a few short years, indicating that things are heading towards federal legalization sometime in the not-so-distant future, although there are still many hurdles to overcome. With legalization in Ohio, more members of Congress are likely to support, or at least begin paying attention to, ending federal prohibition of cannabis.
Questions? Contact Cantafio & Song PLLC’s marijuana business attorneys at (888) 458-0991.