Former Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Wednesday made his state the 25th to legalize medical marijuana. After years of opposition and delays from state lawmakers, the law soon will allow Ohioans suffering from chronic pain, epilepsy and the side effects of cancer treatment — among other afflictions — the ability to get pot with a doctor referral.
Sick people hoping to get their hands on some pot for treatment will likely need to wait a bit longer than three months when the measure takes effect. State regulators will still need to set up standards for growers, dispensaries and patients, Cincinnati.com reported.
Although Kasich signed the plan, he stayed quiet on whether he personally supports legalizing medical marijuana. He said only that he was following doctor recommendations and wanted to help relieve children of their pain. The governor, while campaigning for the Republican nomination earlier this year, came out against legalizing recreational marijuana — though he did admit to smoking the substance when he was younger.
“I mean, I did” smoke marijuana, Kasich told a Detroit radio station in March. “But let me ask you this: What is the relevance of what I might have done 30 years ago? I mean this is not what matters when we pick a president.”
In states where marijuana is illegal, most arrests for pot target people with small amounts of the drug, amounting to roughly 52 percent of all drug arrests in 2010, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Between 2001 and 2010, there were 8.2 million arrests for weed and 88 percent were for having a small amount. Such arrests often illustrate a significant racial bias. Although usage is pretty even among races, black Americans were 3.73 times more likely than their white counterparts to be arrested for weed.
Recreational marijuana already is legal in Washington State, Colorado, Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia. There are eight states that could soon join them: Massachusetts, Nevada, California, New York, Vermont, Minnesota, Connecticut and Maryland.