The new Ohio marijuana law that will come into effect next month just keeps getting tighter and more restrictive. The law, which will eventually allow qualifying patients to purchase marijuana in pill, oil, edible or vaporizing form, has been established with extremely tight regulations that may make it hard for companies to set up working businesses. When Ohio attorneys asked where they stood legally, as far as consulting with and advising business owners in the marijuana industry, the response that they got back was less than what they desired. The Ohio Court’s Board of Professional Conduct have ruled that since marijuana remains illegal on a federal level, it would not be acceptable for lawyers to advise business owners of a federally illegal substance.
A Hit Against Lawyers
The Board’s opinion reads, “Even though the completion of any of these services or transactions may be permissible under Ohio law, and a lawyer’s assistance can facilitate their completion, the lawyer ultimately would be assisting the client in engaging in conduct that the lawyer know to be illegal under federal law.”
Lawyers have been informed that they are legally permitted to discuss the meaning and consequences of the law with their clients but they will not be allowed to advise those clients to partake in what is still seen as a federal crime. Furthermore, attorneys will not be allowed any legal access to medical marijuana. They have been warned that it would affect their “honesty, trustworthiness and overall fitness to practice law.” Regardless of medical concerns, lawyers with not be permitted to participate in the new Ohio marijuana law.
Details of Ohio Marijuana Law HB 523
House Bill 523 was passed earlier this year and signed into law by Gov. John Kasich. Although it takes effect on September 8th, it will be a couple of years before the infrastructure of the Ohio marijuana industry will be set up enough to begin selling it to patients. Smoking and home growing marijuana will still be illegal but patients with any of the qualifying conditions will still be able to get medication. Like Ohio, Hawaii also restricts attorneys from advising clients on how to set up their marijuana business.
Federal Classification Resounds in Ohio Ruling
Marijuana still remains federally illegal, which is the cause for all the trouble. Last week the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced that they will not be changing marijuana’s classification from its current Schedule I position. They have allowed marijuana to remain on the list of most dangerous, high risk drugs that are considered to have no medicinal value. The agency admitted that they are aware that no one has ever died from marijuana, unlike all other drugs which cause tens of thousands of deaths a year, including alcohol, cigarettes and prescription drugs. They admit that their reasoning for not changing their classification is because no official government studies have been done on its medicinal purposes and they plan to loosen the laws, allowing more research to be done of the herb.
The new Ohio marijuana law is sure to help many people suffering from debilitating conditions. In time it is likely that the law will loosen so that business owners in the cannabis industry get the much needed help they deserve.