The Ohio House has passed a proposal to legalize medical marijuana in the state.
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 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.
The bill passed on a 70-25 vote Tuesday. The Senate plans to begin hearings on the measure Wednesday.
Rep. Kirk Schuring led a special committee on the issue. He has said he expects the legislation to be enacted by the end of May.
Lawmakers are seeking to head off a proposed November ballot issue supported by the national medical marijuana movement.
Listen to 89.7 NPR News' Marilyn Smith conversation with Ohioans for Medical Marijuana spokesman Aaron Marshall.