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Ohio State Bar Association Hosts First-Ever Cannabis Law Conference

Eric Gay
Associated Press

The Ohio State Bar Association is hosting a Cannabis Law Conference in Columbus on Thursday.

The continuing education for legal professionals will cover an overview of current state law regarding medical marijuana, employment and accomodation, and driving under the influence of pot, among other legal topics.

Medical pot was legalized in Ohio in 2016, and the Ohio State Bar Association has provided smaller presentations about the legal issues surrounding it in the past three years, but this is its first full-day conference on the subject.

"I think it's a rolling stone type issue, actually maybe a snowball," says John Izzo, a presenter at the conference. "Because as time has gone on there's more and more to talk about."

Izzo is a lawyer for Graff and McGovern whose presentation focuses on representing Ohio clients in the cannabis industry. He says when the law was first approved, there wasn't much detail past the text of the bill itself.

"Now we have rules, now we have a lot of lawsuits that have happened, who should get a license, who won't be getting a license, and because of that we definitely have a lot to talk about in the community," Izzo says.

While he hasn't seen any clients get in trouble with the law, Izzo says the thorniest subject within this legal field is the contradiction between federal law that prohibits marijuana use of any kind, and state laws like Ohio's that allow for it in certain circumstances.

"It's that dichotomy in the laws: trying to keep people in accordance with the state law while also trying to avoid any problems with the federal laws," he says.

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.