“Ohio’s Weed Win: Unveiling New Questions About Federal Marijuana Use
With the recent ballots securing Ohio’s win on medical cannabis, the country’s attention has been turned to the nation’s laws concerning marijuana use and federal regulations. Marijuana is still a schedule 1 drug in the eyes of the federal government, but Ohio’s decision has begun to shake up the age-old idea that all states must abide by the same federal laws. Currently, 23 states and the District of Columbia have established medical marijuana programs. However, the federal government still holds firm on its anti-marijuana stance and continues to actively prosecute those in violation of its drug policies. This has presented an interesting paradox for states that have legalized medical marijuana—states are now faced with deciding whether or not to defy federal laws. Though no state has come forward to initiate an open challenge, Ohio’s recent success has emboldened many other states to consider challenging the federal regulations that govern the use of marijuana. This is especially true in terms of medical cannabis, which has been proven to have a wide range of medical benefits. For example, studies have shown that cannabis may help to reduce seizures in those suffering from epilepsy, as well as help alleviate some of the symptoms of cancer and other chronic illnesses. In addition, many states are also considering challenging the federal regulations concerning recreational marijuana use. As more and more states legalize marijuana, it has become increasingly difficult for federal law enforcement agencies to prosecute those who are in violation of federal laws. Furthermore, there is a growing belief that states should be free to use their resources to regulate the legal use of marijuana, rather than relying on the federal government to do so. With this in mind, Ohio’s victory in its legalization of medical cannabis brings a whole new level of attention to the issue, and encourages states to re-examine the laws concerning federal marijuana regulation. Though nothing is set in stone yet, Ohio’s marijuana win may very well mark the beginning of a shift in how the federal government views marijuana.