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US (OH): Some say Senate bill to "fix" MMJ program would be recipe for disaster

Ohio's medical cannabis program has been the subject of complaints by some Ohioans since it was created. Critics have said it's complicated, the products are too expensive, there were too few dispensaries, and the program didn't cover enough conditions.

But lawmakers find themselves in a tricky spot over how to change it to make it more patient-friendly and perhaps stave off a potential ballot measure that could ultimately end up legalizing cannabis sales to anyone 21 years old or over. A group that wants to allow cannabis to be regulated like alcohol is poised to collect signatures to put the issue before voters this November.

Sen. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) was one of the architects of the current medical cannabis program established in 2016. In recent testimony before the Senate's General Government Committee, Schuring explained his new bill addresses a supply chain issue that needs to be fixed.

"At the end of the day, those who need medical cannabis have to pay an inordinate price to get their medication, to the point where it is not competitive in the marketplace. If you live in northwestern Ohio, they'll go to Michigan because it's a much more efficient and effective program there. If you don't live in northwestern Ohio, many of the folks go to the black market," Schuring said.


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