Ohio senator wants feds to lift prohibition on marijuana

The state senator who helped push through Ohio’s medical marijuana law wants to ask U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Congress to re-classify cannabis.

State Sen. Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights, introduced a resolution in the Ohio Senate on Wednesday that would make a formal request to the feds to drop marijuana from the list of controlled substances.

The resolution, which would have to pass both the Ohio House and Senate, doesn’t carry much clout. It is a mechanism for sending a message on an issue.

Ohio and 28 other states have embraced medical marijuana programs, even though the drug is still considered illegal under federal Controlled Substances Act. The prohibition makes clinical studies about marijuana’s medical benefits more difficult, the resolution said. Likewise, it makes getting health insurance to cover medical marijuana and getting banks to handle financial transactions more difficult, the resolution said.

Related: Olympian, whiskey heir among those trying grow medical pot in Ohio

Ohio’s medical marijuana law, signed by Gov. John Kasich in June 2016, took effect in September.

While the Obama administration took a hands-off approach on medical marijuana in states with well regulated programs, the Trump administration seems to be taking a different stance.

“Drug traffickers already cultivate and distribute marijuana inside the United States under the guise of state medical marijuana laws,” Sessions wrote in a May 1 letter to Congressional leaders.

Related: New rules set for medical marijuana use in Ohio

Under Ohio’s new program, three state agencies — Department of Commerce, Board of Pharmacy and State Medical Board — will oversee regulations for growers, doctors, patients and dispensaries.

State authorities are currently writing rules for processors, testing labs and dispensaries and are considering applications from companies vying for 24 cultivator licenses.

Among applications for cultivator licenses are several companies that want to set up operations in the Miami Valley. Related: State identifies medical pot applicants

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