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Ohio House committee approves adding autism to state's medical marijuana list of conditions

Some of the medical marijuana products available at a dispensary in Columbus. Medical marijuana in Ohio can't be smoked, so it's available as edibles, vapes, oils, lotions and topicals, as extracts or as dry marijuana flowers.
Daniel Konik
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Some of the medical marijuana products available at a dispensary in Columbus. Medical marijuana in Ohio can't be smoked, so it's available as edibles, vapes, oils, lotions and topicals, as extracts or as dry marijuana flowers.

Ohioans who want to try medical marijuana as a treatment for autism spectrum disorder could be a bit closer to getting the opportunity.

The House Health Committee has sent to the full House a bipartisan bill that would add autism to the list of conditions for which medical marijuana can be recommended by doctors. The bill is sponsored by Reps. Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) and Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati).

In testimony to the committee, Columbus resident Raymond Chandler III gets medical marijuana for other conditions approved for it in Ohio. But he noted that marijuana is legal for recreational purposes not far away in Michigan.

“Anyone in this state can very easily go up there, grab what they need and come back down here and the state’s failure to approve that, people are going to naturally find other routes to their own treatment," Chandler said.

The bill passed the committee 9-2. Five committee members were absent because of weather. But their votes would not have changed the bill’s approval.

Parents and others who wanted the state's medical marijuana program to include autism asked the State Medical Board earlier this year to approve it. A similar request was rejected last summer.

Health Committee chair Scott Lipps (R-Franklin) said he brought up this bill as he works to “rein in” a bill approved by the Senate last month to add six more conditions to the medical marijuana list. Autism is one of those conditions, along with arthritis, migraines, chronic muscle spasms, hospice care or terminal illness and opioid use disorder.

That bill is sponsored by Sen. Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City), a doctor. One of the two no votes on this House bill is Rep. Beth Liston (D-Dublin), also a doctor.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.