Fear of a political backlash is keeping the state Legislature from approving medical marijuana in Ohio, a lawmaker from the Mahoning Valley says.
State Rep. Bob Hagan, D-60th of Youngstown, is co-sponsoring a bill to make Ohio the 15th state to allow medicinal marijuana.
But Hagan said the bill is certain to go nowhere because his colleagues in the Legislature aren’t brave enough to pass it.
He said several conservative Republican lawmakers have privately told him that they support medical marijuana but think it is political suicide to back it publicly.
The bill would let doctor-certified medical marijuana users grow plants, but they would have to be kept in a locked room, greenhouse, garden or other enclosed area out of view.
A 2009 poll conducted by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati found that 73 percent of Ohio adults favored allowing medical marijuana.
Amanda Wurst, a spokeswoman for Gov. Ted Strickland, said the Democratic governor thinks medical marijuana laws are unnecessary.
“The governor feels that the predominant opinion of the medical community is that there are existing medicines available that provide appropriate patient care,” Wurst said. “So based on that opinion and the current research, he feels this type of legislation doesn’t seem necessary or warranted.”
Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on Vindy.com.