As of earlier this year 145,397 Ohioans lost their driving privileges for a drug offenses unrelated to driving. Most driver’s license suspensions are for marijuana possession. While most states do not take away a driver license (see image), and other appear to be scaling back these suspension policy (i.e. New York & Florida) Ohio has increased driver’s license suspensions from a little over 100,000 in 2009 to more than 145,000 in 2014.
Research has found the mandatory driver’s license suspensions for drug possession make roads more dangerous by diverting resources away from highway safety enforcement. In addition, driver’s license suspensions have been particularly devastating to the working poor. According to the Clemency Report forty-two percent lose their jobs following a license suspension.
The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the trade group for state DMVs and BMVs, vigorously opposes “social conformance” driver’s licenses suspensions. The AAMVA documented the damage in an 80-page report published in 2013. Furthermore the common belief that a license suspension provides motivation for individuals to comply with court ordered or legislated mandates to avoid suspension is not supported by empirical evidence.
The 2012 Ohio Senate Collateral Sanctions Bill 337 sponsored by State Senator Seitz, Eklund & Skindell was signed by Governor John Kasich, One of the focuses was to reduce non-driving suspensions. An exception to that was drug license suspension due to drug offenses. They were unable to do so at that time due to Federal law, 23CFR 192 (Drug Offenders Driver’s License Suspension) that requires states to suspend or revoke the driver licenses of anyone convicted of any drug offense or lose highway funds if they do not.
Ohio legislators have since discovered that states can opt out of this requirement by submitting a certified statement by the Governor opposing enactment or enforcement of the law and a resolution by the State legislature expressing opposition to such a law. That process has been started by the introduction of Senate Concurrent Resolution 27 and HCR 55. Ohio NORML testified at the transportation committee hearing. SCR 27 was successfully passed at the committee level and is waiting on the full Ohio Senate to act. Note the Ohio Judicial Conference of Judges also supports eliminating Ohio driver’s license suspension due to drug offenses.
Below is a list of states that are not enforcing US Code Title 23 highways section 159 "Revocation or suspension of drivers" licenses of individuals convicted of drug offenses.
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Below is a list of states that are enforcing Federal law.
Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania,Texas, and Virginia.
Ohio is distinct among it's peers in that Ohio Revised Code in that suspension can be for up to 5 years even for having a pipe which was made an non arrestable offense by SB337.
The data was provided by the US Department of Transportation is the basis for the above map of the United States.
Ohio NORML request that you contact your state legislator and put Ohio in the Green section of the map.
The enactment of medicinal marijuana laws is associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates, according to data published online today in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine.
A team of investigators from the University of Pennsylvania, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore conducted a time-series analysis of medical cannabis laws and state-level death certificate data in the United States from 1999 to 2010 — a period during which 13 states instituted laws allowing for cannabis therapy.
Researchers reported, “States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared with states without medical cannabis laws.” Specifically, overdose deaths from opioids decreased by an average of 20 percent one year after the law’s implementation, 25 percent by two years, and up to 33 percent by years five and six.
They concluded, “In an analysis of death certificate data from 1999 to 2010, we found that states with medical cannabis laws had lower mean opioid analgesic overdose mortality rates compared with states without such laws. This finding persisted when excluding intentional overdose deaths (ie, suicide), suggesting that medical cannabis laws are associated with lower opioid analgesic overdose mortality among individuals using opioid analgesics for medical indications. Similarly, the association between medical cannabis laws and lower opioid analgesic overdose mortality rates persisted when including all deaths related to heroin, even if no opioid analgesic was present, indicating that lower rates of opioid analgesic overdose mortality were not offset by higher rates of heroin overdose mortality. Although the exact mechanism is unclear, our results suggest a link between medical cannabis laws and lower opioid analgesic overdose mortality.”
In a written statement to Reuters Health, lead author Dr. Marcus Bachhuber said: “Most of the discussion on medical marijuana has been about its effect on individuals in terms of reducing pain or other symptoms. The unique contribution of our study is the finding that medical marijuana laws and policies may have a broader impact on public health.”
Added co-author Colleen L. Barry in USA Today: “[The study's findings] suggest the potential for many lives to be saved. … We can speculate … that people are completely switching or perhaps supplementing, which allows them to lower the dosage of their prescription opioid.”
Nationwide, overdose deaths involving opioid analgesics have increased dramatically over the past decade. While fewer than 4,100 opiate-induced fatalities were reported for the year 1999, by 2010 this figure rose to over 16,600 according to an analysis by the US Centers for Disease Control.
An abstract of the JAMA study, “Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Analgesic Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1999-2010,” see online here.
Also see Recent Research on Medical Marijuana & Chronic Pain in NORML's Library Chronic Pain link
The New York Times editorial board has caught up to the public and is now calling for the end of marijuana prohibition. I urge you to please to read the NY TIMES editorials on their website in entirety and leave a message with your opinion. Ohio is an important element just look at the map! Ohio has had numerous medical marijuana bills introduced as well as full legalization legislation without any traction, as well as three medical marijuana ballot initiatives started. Now is the time for leaders in Columbus to step up and act!
It is way past time to end this "war" on our own citizens and reverse prohibition policy that criminalizes and cripples so many of Ohioans. On the map Ohio may be colored a "DECRIM STATE," but in reality it is a decriminalized state with plenty of sharp teeth.
These teeth range from scaring people who are seriously ill to continue to suffer or afraid to talk to their doctors, students losing educational benefits, filling our jails beyond their capacity due to failing a drug test that drives Ohio's high recidivism rate, secret tools for "The New Jim Crow" for racism to hide behind, encouraging people to leave the state with their children who have an epileptic like seizures condition called Dravets, corrupting our youth to become drug dealers to make a fast buck, breaking up of families by removing a child from their mother because of a hospital drug test, hunters being denied legal access to rifles, veterans and pain patients being dropped from receiving medical care, and finally even taking away a person's driver's license for having a joint.
Marijuana, Cannabis, Ganja, Pot, Weed, Marihuana, Hemp…… whatever you want to call it needs to be RE-legalized! We must deal with reality rather than falsehoods and worn out propaganda. We need to deal with it rationally and push past the lies propagated by the new REEFER MADNESS any longer! It is time for Ohioans, be they marijuana consumers or not to act and reform Ohio's marijuana laws.
Ohio does not need to be last to recognize the truth, marijuana should be made legal once again. Let's put our rusty factories to work and be part of a green growing economy; whether it is for using hemp as a source for a whole variety of industrial uses; to making medications for our sick; or providing a safer alternative to alcohol.
Below is a composite image and links to the Sunday July 26th 2014 New York Times edition. There are two other article, the second article in the Times is an opinion about Letting the states decide, the third is about the change in public opinion.1-Repeal Prohibition, Again By THE New York Times Editiorial Board http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/27/opinion/sunday/high-time-marijuana-legalization.html?op-nav
2-Let States Decide on Marijuana By David Firestone http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/opinion/sunday/high-time-let-states-decide-on-marijuana.html?op-nav
3-The Public Lightens Up About Weed By Juliet Lapidos http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/opinion/sunday/high-time-the-public-lightens-up-about-weed.html?ref=opinion
Once again, the annual COLUMBUS festival called COMFEST took place and Ohio NORML was there. COMFEST is an event that Ohio NORML has attended for years. Many other NORML chapters come together to support each other in our mission of reforming the marijuana laws. Comfest is a chance for people who are involved or interested in changing the current marijuana laws to come together to educate and socialize. This year COMFEST was held at the end of June in Columbus, Ohio.
This year we had some difficulties that almost resulted in us not being able to attend this year. Despite those setbacks, we made it and it turned out to be a great weekend event. This was made possible by the dedicated people who have joined together to end prohibition. A special mention needs to go out to Mike, Heather, Scott, Kim, Shardee, Marshall, Nicole, Ken, James, Emily, Linda, and Connie. Each helped to make this event a success.
We had a problem gathering signatures for the Medical Marijuana ballot. We only had one tent due to the geography which was not favorable setting up the petition section. Still, with the help of passing out around a thousand or so stickers and signing a letter to Federal representatives, we directed people to the Medical Marijuana ballot at the entrance of Goodale Rd and handed in over 500 signatures for the medical marijuana petition effort at the end of the festival.
Despite our efforts to reform marijuana laws, prohibition is still here. Almost 100 people received marijuana citations for smoking at the event. The rules were clearly stated at the festival entrance, and Columbus police were circulating in the crowd undercover. Officers were going from tree to tree writing citations for possessing or smoking marijuana. This is a clear signal that prohibition is still in effect and we have work to do.
It was great not only to see so many friendly faces. I also personally handed in HUNDREDS of medical marijuana petition packets. It was a great event and look forward to attending more in the future. Thanks to everyone that made this such a wonderful experience.
Rob Ryan, President
Our opposition, the prohibitionist are urging our Senators to exclude the Pro-Marijuana Amendments and gut Congress's decision to defund the DEA from raiding states that have passed medical marijuana laws. It is our duty to respond and urge our United States Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown to support the recent House decision. We cannot let this moment pass without speaking up.
I have included my own letter to Portman and Brown. Note it is best not to use the form letter, so if you do use a from letter customize it and make it personal.
Also please send a letter of thanks to those Congressman who voted for the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment to the Department of Justice's budget and an opposite letter to those who voted NO! At the very end of this email I included a list of Ohio Congressional representatives and their vote on this important vote.
President, Ohio NORML
Working to legalize marijuana in Ohio
Now is the time to act and end marijuana prohibition.
-------My letter to Portman and Brown---------
I ask you to support the House's decision to stop the Department of Justice from using federal funds to undermine state laws authorizing the use of medical marijuana.
This issue is important to me personally. I have survived three cancers in my life. Marijuana has helped me during the brutal chemo rounds that I went thru for the greater part of the year. Note I had my oncologist full support using marijuana.
This amendment would save significant tax dollars, curb federal overreach in areas traditionally reserved for the states, and protect states' rights to choose how to regulate medical marijuana without fear of federal interference.
It is time to recognize the facts that marijuana is not deadly, addictive and with no medical use as defined by current United States and Ohio Law.
Blue Ash, Ohio
Your Senator Contact Info
Sen. Sherrod Brown
HSOB- Hart Senate Office Building, Room 713
120 Constitution Avenue, NE
Washington DC 20510-3505
Sen. Rob Portman
RSOB- Russell Senate Office Building, Room 448
2 Constitution Avenue, NE
Washington DC 20510-3506