Bill would legalize medical marijuana for Ohioans with autism

By Laura Hancock - Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland (TNS)

COLUMBUS, Ohio — State Rep. Juanita Brent, a Cleveland Democrat, has again introduced a bill that would allow people with autism spectrum disorder to legally obtain medical marijuana in Ohio.

House Bill 60 is also sponsored by Republican Rep. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati. Additionally, there are 15 cosponsors from both parties.

“I’ve had a lot of constituents come to me in my own district, as well as others across the state, with concerns that they need alternatives for their children,” Brent said. “We’re talking about parents trying to help their children out. We have to give them a way to try to medicate their children in a safe manner.”

HB 60 would also allow adults with autism to obtain marijuana through the state’s medical program. Seventeen states currently allow medical marijuana for autism, Brent said.

Last legislative session, Brent sponsored a similar bill, with just eight cosponsors. The bill was referred to a committee but never got a hearing.

“This is my second try,” Brent said. “I’m introducing it earlier this General Assembly to give it a fighting chance.”

In addition to the legislation, the State Medical Board of Ohio is reviewing ailments to possibly add to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

Two petitioners have requested that the board add autism. The board has previously rejected a petition for autism.

The board will winnow down the petitions at a meeting on Wednesday. There were 30 petitions, including for conditions such as Huntington’s Disease and Macular Degeneration and Ocular Histoplasmosis.

Some of the petitions will likely be rejected because they are for conditions that are already on the list, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

By Laura Hancock

Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland (TNS)

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