Ohio bill to legalize medical marijuana clears House panel

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A proposal to legalize medical marijuana in Ohio has cleared a legislative panel and appears headed for a full House vote next week.

The bill would bar patients from smoking the substance but allow them to use it in vapor form.

Under the legislation, a nine-member Medical Marijuana Control Commission would set the rules for cultivating, distributing and licensing cannabis. Communities could opt out of hosting dispensaries. Employers who want to maintain drug-free workplaces would be protected from liability.

Rep. Kirk Schuring chairs the House committee that approved the bill Thursday. The Canton Republican says he expects the full House to vote on the bill on Tuesday.

Polls suggest a majority of Ohioans favor legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. Ohio has seen a number of ballot proposals on the issue.

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