News and Headlines


Recreational Marijuana in Ohio: Process for Licensing Businesses Expected to Start in June

The Ohio Division of Cannabis Control is expecting to begin its recreational marijuana licensing process in early June, a critical step toward the state’s first legal recreational sale, which is expected not long after the state grants its first recreational license in early September.

The first batch of applications will go to each existing medical marijuana licensee beginning June 7, according to Department of Commerce. A Department of Commerce spokesperson observed they are “looking to begin awarding provisional licenses for non-medical cannabis facilities by September 7,” and recreational marijuana sales cannot legally occur until the licenses are issued and the respective facilities are certified by the division. This timeline follows the directives of the yet-to-be-altered Issue 2 statute that went into effect on Dec. 7. However, it’s ultimately a timeline that Gov. Mike DeWine and the Department of Commerce have been displeased with, given the disconnect between marijuana being legal to possess in Ohio with no legal way to procure it due to the House and Senate not enacting implementing legislation.


Ohio Families File Lawsuit Challenging Ban on Gender-Affirming Healthcare for Transgender Youth

Earlier this week, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Ohio, and the global law firm Goodwin filed a lawsuit challenging the enactment of House Bill 68, and specifically, a provision in H.B. 68 that bans gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors. The organizations filed this lawsuit in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on behalf of two families whose children are at risk of losing critical, medically necessary healthcare. The lawsuit asks the court to strike down H.B. 68 before the law is set to take effect on April 24, 2024.


Biden signs $1.2T Funding Package After Partial Shutdown Thwarted

President Biden signed a colossal $1.2 trillion spending package after Congress concluded a tumultuous government funding cycle and skirted a shutdown after midnight.

The Senate cleared the six-bill funding bundle in a 74-24 vote early Saturday morning. The House approved the package earlier on Friday, with more Democrats voting for the massive measure than Republicans as Speaker Mike Johnson faces a new threat to his gavel.

Biden called the bill’s passage “a compromise, which means neither side got everything it wanted,” according to a White House release. Almost halfway through the fiscal year, the legislation will deliver fresh budgets and a steady funding stream to the Pentagon and many non-defense agencies through September. The final passage vote caps off an especially rancorous government funding battle that began more than a year ago when House conservatives started demanding deep spending cuts from then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, despite the reality that the Democrat-led Senate and Biden would never agree to severe reductions. Both the House and Senate are now headed out for a two-week recess. When they return, other priorities will quickly consume both chambers.


Congress Tries Again to Increase Medicaid Spending for Behavioral Health

Federal lawmakers are taking another stab at increasing funding for behavioral health expenditures in the Medicaid program. A version of the Medicaid Bump Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate and Congress on March 12.

The bill would create financial incentives for states to elevate spending on behavioral health beyond levels in 2019. Specifically, it would create an enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rate of 90% for mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment.

States and their Medicaid programs would not be allowed to use the additional federal money to replace state funding levels. The new funds would be used to increase the capacity, efficiency and quality of behavioral health within Medicaid provider networks, according to a news release.

The bill would charge the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to define which services qualify as eligible behavioral health services for the enhanced FMAP. It would also enact an annual reporting requirement detailing the impact of the funding increase on behavioral health utilization.


The Ohio Council Welcomes New Member Provider, Mended Reeds Services, Inc.

Mended Reeds Services, Inc. in Ironton, OH - David Lambert, Executive Director, can be reached at [email protected] or by phone at (740) 532-6220.

Mended Reeds Services, Inc. is a non-profit organization providing mental health, medical services, and drug and alcohol counseling services in Lawrence County. The overriding mission of their company is to provide an array of services that supports the integration of health and human services across a variety of systems. 

Click here to learn more about Mended Reeds Services, Inc. 

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