medicine

In the sad saga of the War on Drugs, police carry out countless raids on the homes of people who’ve committed victimless “crimes” of possessing substances deemed illegal by the State. So the rare times this injustice can be flung back in the face of authorities, it’s cause for celebration.

An Ohio medical cannabis patient was able to do just that by utilizing a provision in Ohio law called Affirmative Defense. According to Ohio Cannabis News, the man had just flown home from Colorado, and for some reason the TSA – that useless, rights-violating federal agency – tipped off local police on the suspicion that the man was doing something wrong.

By the next morning, local police had secured a warrant to raid the man’s home, but they were in for a surprise.

“The patient’s home was then raided, but authorities only discovered 5 grams of concentrate.  The patient’s attorney arrived to explain that his client was within the bounds of Ohio law, as said patient has a qualifying condition and a doctor’s recommendation using the Ohio Patients Network Form that we have listed below.

The medication was then given back with an apology, along with immunity from further prosecution, related to this case.”

Ohio cops almost got their chance to throw this hardened criminal into a cage for having five grams of a plant concentrate, but they were no match for informed citizens utilizing a new legal defense.

On September 8, 2016, Ohio lawmakers extended what is known as Affirmative Defense to medical cannabis patients. This is a general term that allows for a person to be excused from criminal charges, such as a case where a person strikes and injures another in self-defense.

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It is illegal in Ohio to possess cannabis or paraphernalia, but now, with the right paperwork, Ohio residents can in certain situations assert Affirmative Defense by claiming they are in compliance with the state’s medical cannabis law.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project:

“There are several requirements that must be established for a person to prove the affirmative defense. The key requirement is a written statement from a doctor who has received a certification to recommend medical marijuana from the medical board. The written statement must show that:

  • The patient has a condition listed in the state’s medical marijuana law,

  • The patient and the doctor have a bona fide physician-patient relationship,

  • The physician informed the patient of the risks and benefits of medical marijuana, and

  • The physician indicated that the benefits of medical marijuana use outweigh the risks.

The doctor must also obtain a report from the state drug database showing any other drugs prescribed to the patient in the past 12 months, and patients may only use medical marijuana in an approved form. Finally, patients may possess no more than a 90-day supply of cannabis, which is not defined under the law.”

Fortunately, the Ohio man targeted by TSA and local cops was ahead of the game, and his attorney was ready to come to his client’s defense on the spot.

Ohio Cannabis News said the process of using the Ohio Patient’s Network recommendation form was not easy for the patient, but it nevertheless prevented the state from turning him into a criminal. They also caution that this will not work in every case scenario.

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Slowly but surely, states across the country – even staunchly prohibitionist ones like Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia – are acknowledging the healing powers of cannabis and are taking steps to decriminalize its medical use.

Recent polls shows that almost 90 percent of Americans support medical cannabis, and 54 percent support full legalization. The cruelty of the drug war is exposed. It’s time for all cops, everywhere, to stop locking people in a cage for using a plant.

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Justin Gardner is a peaceful free-thinker with a background in the biological sciences. He is interested in bringing rationality back into the national discourse, and independent journalism as a challenge to the status quo.