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PA MedMJ Permit Expansion Bill Goes to Governor, KY Ponders Ibogaine for Opioid Treatment, More... (12/14/23)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1201)

The Ohio legislature's effort to revise the voter-approved marijuana legalization law will not get done this year, the Kansas Republican Senate leader says he is open to medical marijuana, and more.

ibogaine shrub (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

Ohio Legislature's Efforts to Change New Marijuana Legalization Law Will Go into Next Year. The state's Republican political establishment wanted to tighten the state's new voter-approved marijuana legalization law before it went into effect a week ago. That didn't happen. Now, it looks like it is not going to happen before year's end.

The Senate passed a bill to make change and a House committee held a series of hearings on a different bill, but there is no sign the two chambers can get together and send something to Gov. Mike DeWine (R) before lawmakers head home for the holidays at the end of this week.

The House bill is considered less onerous to reform supporters because it would make fewer changes to the legalization law. The Senate bill originally called for a ban on home cultivation, but that was changed to limiting households to six plants instead of the 12 allowed by the voter-approved law.

House Speaker Jason Stephens said there was no hurry to get changes done.

"It's just such a big change in Ohio's law that we need to be deliberate and we need to respect that there are concerns from the administration and the Senate, and we respect those concerns," Stephens said. "Most of the provisions of Issue 2 don't come into effect until the summer, so thats really why you don't see that sense of urgency."

Medical Marijuana

Kansas Republican Senate President Says He is Open to Medical Marijuana. Senate President Ty Masterson (R) says that he is open to a discussion about medical marijuana when the legislature begins its 2024 session next month -- but legalizing weed is off the table.

Kansas is one of only a dozen states that have no provision for medical marijuana or low-THC cannabis oil for medicinal purposes.

Last year, Masterson opposed a medical marijuana bill, saying it was too close to fully legalizing marijuana.

"I'm actually open to true medical marijuana or to palliative care. I am open to that. I am not saying no," said Masterson. "I'm just saying we don't have any real studies on dosing and distribution."

Pennsylvania Bill to Expand Medical Marijuana Permits Goes to Governor's Desk. A bill from state Sen. Chris Gebhard (R) that would expand the number of permits granted to small-scale medical marijuana growers, Senate Bill 773, has passed out of the legislature and has gone to the desk of Gov. Josh Shapiro (D), who is expected to sign it into law.

The bill passed the Senate last month and passed the House on Wednesday.

It would allow independent growers/processors to obtain a single dispensary permit and it would allow independent dispensaries to obtain a single grower/processor permit. Under the state's current medical marijuana law, only five operations in the state are allowed to apply for dispensary permits, a situation Gebhard said favored large-scale growers.

The state Health Department has found that up to ten independent growers and four dispensaries could qualify for the new permits.

"As I've said all along, this is not about what these companies are selling, they could be selling widgets for all I care, this is about allowing small Pennsylvania businesses to compete against large multistate operators that have come into this state and attempted to take over an entire industry," Gebhard said in a written statement.


A state committee is pondering funding research into ibogaine, a West African shrub that is classified as a Schedule I drug in the US but is used in Mexico and other countries as a treatment for opioid use disorder.

The Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Committee, which is in charge of allocating the nearly $840 million the state won in opioid lawsuit settlements is set to vote on whether to spend $42 million to fund ibogaine research.

Kentucky is tied with Tennessee for the second-highest drug overdose death rate in the country -- 55.6 per 1,000 deaths -- the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows. Only West Virginia has a higher mortality rate from drug overdoses, at more than 90 per 1,000. The region has been the hardest hit in the country since 2010.

Commission chair and executive director Bryan Hubbard, said he came across ibogaine as he was studying therapies that might work better than opioid replacement therapies, such as methadone and buprenorphine. Those are currently considered the leading treatments.

"They have about a 25% success rate, and that is a success rate that is exceptionally mediocre. Ibogaine could be an opportunity for a significant breakthrough," Hubbard said. He took the idea to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who greenlighted the commission's request to explore the possibility of ibogaine research.

If the commission approves funding for ibogaine research, it will need special permission from the Food and Drug Administration to proceed with the studies.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

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