Courage – Year in review – Statute to SoS – MMCP expansion – Give!
Selected bites of fresh cannabis news sliced from the headlines, with a legislative flavor and sweet Ohio twist. Sources are linked.
Courage in Cannabis
Courage in Cannabis, a groundbreaking collection of short stories, has earned the Amazon Rank of #1 New Release, #1 Best Seller in Herbal Remedies and International Bestseller. The collection features inspiring authors who are doctors, lawyers, activists, caregivers and pioneers in the cannabis industry with unique experiences and perspectives that have led them to the plant. The authors come from across the United States and Canada featuring some of the greatest change-makers in the hemp, CBD, and cannabis industries. I’m proud to be one of them.
Want a soft back copy of this influential book? Please click here and order yours today! When you purchase your Courage in Cannabis copy from the courageincannabis.com website, you are supporting authors like me who contributed to the book. Online version of book is also available on Amazon at a very nominal price.
Mary Jane’s Year in Review
· January 2021– 20XX*: A cannabis recap of the year we want to forget but can’t. There was much about 20XX* to forget. The deadly pandemic, the police killings, and the partisan politics. One silver lining – cannabis – shined: its power to cure disease, ameliorate hunger, end war and bridge divides. (20XX* = 2020)
· February 2021– Right, Moral and Good: The Principle of the Three-Legged Stool. Actions cannot be moral or good if their fact base is lacking. They are neither right nor good if based in lies, theft, or greed. They can’t be right or moral, if they function improperly or harm overall well-being.
· March 2021– CannaNews You Can Use. New Mary Jane’s Guide format:fresh from the headlines news and short noteworthy developments in the cannabis world from an Ohio point of view.
· April 2021– 420 Edition. 50th Anniversary of the Waldos, the real story of 4/20. In 1971, five students at San Rafael High School in California coined the term “4:20” to connote a plan to search for an abandoned cannabis crop. The term then became a code for getting high unbeknownst to teachers and parents.
· June 2021– We Got More!!Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) reintroduced the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Acton 5/28/2021. On the Senate side this session, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) states that he will bring a legalization bill to the floor ”soon.”
· July 2021– War on Drugs. On July 4, 2021, Americans celebrated 145 years since the Continental Congress planted the seeds of democracy enjoyed by Americans today. This year, however, marked 50 years since the launch of our country’s longest, deadliest and most costly war and its biggest assault on inalienable rights: the War on Drugs.
· August 2021– Bills. An initiated statute was filed by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (RMLA) with the Ohio Attorney General’s (OAG) office on 7/27/21. Unfortunately, on 8/5/21, the OAG rejected the initiative’s summary. On August 2, 2021, Ohio Representative Casey Weinstein (D-37) introduced HB 382 with the short title, “Allow cultivation, possession of marijuana; levy a tax.” The intent of fielding ballot issues is sometimes to inspire legislative action.
· September 2021– Opposition Research. Who opposes cannabis in Ohio? “Drug free” coalitions and SAM. The statewide Prevention Action Alliance (PAA) – formerly the Drug Free Action Alliance – created the Statewide Prevention Coalition Association consisting of 60+ community organizations all over the State of Ohio.
· October 2021– Breast Cancer: If Cannabis Could Cure Cancer, Would You Run for It? Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) originates from a Canadian man who used highly concentrated THC oil to heal skin cancer. It worked and he published his results. He never patented his product, nor trademarked the term. Still, RSO defines highly concentrated oils of various THC ratios consumed orally. Lab studies have shown that the oil can stop tumor growth and keep cancer cells from spreading.
· November 2021– Ohio History Project. After 4700 years since cannabis’ first recorded medicinal use; 160 years since the Ohio Medical Society extoled its medical benefits; 100 years since prohibition was invented in Westerville; 85 years since the Gore files begat Reefer Madness; 50 years since the CSA trapped cannabis into an web of excessive restrictions; 25 years since the repeal of SB 2 and the Journey for Justice; and after 20 years of legislative and ballot issue defeats, finally – yes, finally – Ohio has a functional medical marijuana program.
· December 2021– GIVE!! Like what you see? Impressed? This is the kind of powerful, detailed and regularly published journalism that the Columbus Free Press has championed for more than 50 years. Yes! Since 1970. It’s one of the last functional free press publications from that time frame and it has actively supported cannabis legalization since the late 1990s. The Free Press is published by the 501(c)(3) organization, Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism, making donations tax deductible. You can give by Paypal hereor mail your check made out to the “CICJ” to: The Free Press, 1021 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43205.
· House bills= 41 and Senate bills = 15, for a Total of 56. See Federal Cannabis Legislation Table.
· MORE Act 2021. This adult use bill, introduced once by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10), passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on 9/30/21 by 26-15. Hereis Rep. Nadler’s statement to mark the occasion.
· Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA). On 7/14/21, Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) released a Discussion Draft of a U.S. Senate bill to fully legalize cannabis. Hereis the full language of the bill. Here is a summary of key points of interest. Here is an analysis from the Tax Foundation that includes state level tax rates on adult use cannabis. Although there has been no recent movement on the proposed bill, Senator Schumer continues to tweet in favor of reform.
· New federal bills. H.R. 5977 (Rep. Nancy Mace R-SC-1) to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. H.R. 6129 (Rep. David Joyce R-OH-14) to expunge cannabis records. H.R. 6134 (Rep. Kathleen Rice D-NY-4) to authorize regulation of cannabidiol in interstate commerce.
· H.R. 4350 – National Defense Authorization Act. This bill, authorizing appropriations for national defense, had included Amendment 97 (basically the Safe Banking Act) to prohibit federal regulators from penalizing financial institutions that provide services to cannabis related businesses. The bill passed the House by 316-293 and the Senate on 12/15/21, but excluded language for Safe Banking, cannabis research and marijuana for military veterans in the final version.
Ohio See Ohio Cannabis Legislation Table.
· Initiated Statute Ballot Initiative: Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (RMLA). On 12/20/21, the coalition submitted 206,943 signatures to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office. Once validated signatures have crossed the 132,886 threshold, with 1.5% from at least 44 Ohio counties, the measure goes before the Ohio General Assembly that has four months to enact it as Chapter 3780 of the Ohio Revised Code. The new law would, “authorize and regulate cultivation, processing, sale, purchase, home grow, and use of adult use cannabis by adults at least twenty-one years of age (‘adult use consumers’).” Here is the initiative’s searchable text in PDF format. And here is one-page bulleted key point list of the proposed statute’s provisions.
· H.B. 60. Introduced by Representatives Juanita Brent (D-134) and Bill Seitz (R-30) on 2/3/21 with the short title “Authorize medical marijuana for autism spectrum disorder.” No recent action. Read the bill’s legislative text here, its analysis hereand its fiscal notes here.
· H.B. 203. Introduced by Senator Nathan H. Manning (R-13) on 6/23/21 with the short title “Regards operating a vehicle under the influence of marihuana.” Bill would raise urine and blood levels for being “under the influence” of marijuana. No cosponsors. First hearing held on 9/21/21 as Sponsor testimony. Here is the bill analysis and here is the bill’s text.
· H.B. 356. Introduced by Representatives Mike Loychik (R-63) and Adam C. Bird (R-66) on 6/21/21 with the short title “Regards drug offenses and treatment.” Changes marijuana possession penalties from felonies to misdemeanors and bars judges from ordering drivers license suspensions connected to possession offenses. Sponsor hearing held on 11/10/21. Here is the bill’s text and hereis its analysis.
· H.B. 382. Introduced by Representative Casey Weinstein (D-37) on 8/2/21, with the short title, “Allow cultivation, possession of marijuana; levy a tax.” This legislation represents the first time that a legal framework for adult cannabis use has been proposed to the Ohio General Assembly. Here is the bill’s text and here is a key point analysis. Referred to the House Finance Committee on 9/21/21.
· H.B. 498. Introduced by Representatives Jamie Callendar (R-61) and Ron Ferguson (R-96) on 12/7/21 with the short title “Ohio Adult Use Act (OAUA); levy a tax.” Per their statehouse press release, would dovetail with H.R. 3105, a federal bill introduced by U.S. Congressman Dave Joyce in May. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the OAUA would “build on the state’s existing medical marijuana program,” include a 10% tax on sales, permit adult possession of 5 ounces, and allow home grow of six plants. The bill has no cosponsors.
· S.B. 25. Introduced by Ohio Senator Theresa Gavarone (R-2) on 1/26/21 with the short title “Enact Relapse Reduction Act regarding drug tests and trafficking.” The bill would increase penalties for drug activity near a drug treatment center or recovering addict, and for defrauding drug tests. Recently gained 16 co-sponsors and passed by Senate on 9/15/21 with a 29 to 1 vote. Here is the passed version, here is the bill analysis, and here are the fiscal notes. The bill proceeded to the Ohio House where it received a Proponent Testimony hearing on 10/12/21.
· S.B. 261. Introduced by Ohio Senator Stephen Huffman (R-5) on 11/9/21, with the short title “Revise the medical marijuana law.” With six co-sponsors, passed the Senate on 12/15/21. Among other provisions, the bill would enlarge cultivation areas, add qualifying medical conditions, increase number of forms, raise THC level, create a division of marijuana control, and remove the pharmacy board. Here is the bill’s language. Mary Jane’s Guide to SB 261 is here. This is the bill analysis by the Legislative Services Commission. Here and here are opponent testimonies for use in opposition research. Senator Huffman championed HB 523, Ohio’s medical marijuana law, while in the Ohio House.
· Sensible Decrim. This productive collaboration among Bill Schmitt, Jr., the Sensible Movement Coalition and NORML Appalachia have collected signatures to place decriminalization initiatives on the ballot. As a result, marijuana decriminalization of up to 200 grams with no fines or time now covers 2,199,834 Ohioans in 29 Ohio cities, or 28% of Ohio’s adult population. This number will increase by almost 30,000 if decrim passes in Kent, Ohio, where a recount found sufficient signatures to permit ballot placement in an upcoming election.
OMMCP (Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program)
· OMMCP by the Numbers. As of November 30, 2021, there were: 224,681 total registered patients; 205,832 total unique purchasers; 133,196 active patients;25,993 caregivers;15,067 veterans;16,662 with indigent status;639 recommending physicians; 57 operating dispensaries; 37 operating processors; and 4 operating testing laboratories. Total sales since inception: 70,872 lbs. of plant material; 6,261,224 manufactured product units; and $625.4 million in product sales. The average price of plant material for 1/10 oz (or 2.83 grams) is $26.51. Here is a table of total products sold by form since May 2021.
· New qualifying conditions. Every year beginning on November 1st and ending on December 31st, the State Medical Board of Ohio opens a period during which the public may submit petitions to add new qualifying medical conditions to the OMMCP. Procedures are here.
· Proposed New THC definition. “(49) ‘Tetrahydrocannabinol’ or ‘THC’ means all naturally or artificially derived tetrahydrocannabinols, or any structural, optical or geometric isomers or analogs of tetrahydrocannabinols. this includes, but is not limited to,Delta-1 tetrahydrocannabinol; Delta-6 tetrahydrocannabinol; Delta 3,4 tetrahydrocannabinol; Delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol; Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol; Delta-10 tetrahydrocannabinol, and any other cannabinoid that the Department determines to have an intoxicating or psychoactive effect. See MMCP proposed rule updates.
(50) “Tetrahydrocannabinol content” or “THC content” means the sum of the amount of the
tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and 87.7 per cent of the detectable amount of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) present in the product or plant material.
· Cultivation Expansion: Anticipating an increasing number of dispensaries, the Ohio Department of Commerce began on 10/1/21 to accept applications from licensed cultivators who want to expand their growing areas from 25,000 sq ft to 50,000 sq ft for Level I and from 3,000 sq ft to 6,000 sq ft for Level II.Expansion criteria can be found here and the application here. Only one expansion application per cultivator per year.
· Wave Goodbye to the Tier System. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy recently passed a resolution eliminate the Tier 1 and 2 system for plant material potency. The official 90-day supply reverted to the logical nine ounces. Here is an updated table.
Mary Jane’s Library
Source tables for Mary Jane’s Guide.
· Comparison tables of legislation: CAOA [by Senator Schumer – federal]; RMLA adult use initiative [Ohio]; HB 382 [by Rep. Casey Weinstein – Ohio]; Mary Jane’s Guide to SB 261. (proposed revision to HB 523); Mary Jane’s Guide to HB 523 (Ohio’s medical cannabis law); Ohio Medical Marijuana Bills (historic); Ohio Cannabis Ballot Issues (historic); War on Drugs Legislation.
‘Tis the season to show the better side of humankind by giving to others, paying back and paying forward. Toward that end, please generously support these Ohio nonprofits.
Columbus Free Press. Published by the 501(c)(3) organization, Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism. Donations tax deductible. Give by Paypal here or mail your check made out to the “CICJ” to: The Free Press, 1021 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43205.
Natural Therapies Education Foundation.Partnered with the DEPC for the Cannabis Crossroads: What’s in Store for Marijuana Reform in Ohio?” panel discussion in November. Donations are tax deductible via the CICJ as a fiscal agent. Mail your check payable to the “NTEF” to: 1021 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43205.
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Ohio Rights Group. Longstanding 501(c)(4) advocacy nonprofit that helped bring medical marijuana to Ohio with ballot issues, legislative lobbying and physician/patient education. Donations are not tax deductible. You can donate only here. Or mail your check made out to the “Ohio Rights Group” to: 1021 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43205.
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Mary Jane Borden is an author, artist, activist and cannabis advocate from Westerville, Ohio. During her 40-year career in drug policy, she has co-founded seven cannabis-oriented groups, co-authored four proposed constitutional amendments, lobbied for six medical marijuana bills and given hundreds of media interviews. Her artwork can be viewed at CannabinArt.com and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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