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Legalize medical marijuana in Ohio? Let the debate begin



Published: Mon, January 6, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

The roller-coaster ride of mari- juana use in American culture is speeding up and rounding a corner toward wider acceptance.

As far back as 2900 B.C., when Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi sang the praises of the cannabis plant as a medical elixir that promoted the healthful yin and yang balance in life, marijuana has had more than its fair share of ups and downs in popularity and acceptance among the masses.

It enjoyed relatively strong acceptance as a medicine through the 19th century until some began to question its use for recreation and personal pleasure. A 1936 film that remains among the biggest cult films in history titled “Reefer Madness” intentionally exaggerated potentially ill and mind-altering effects of the drug. Coincidentally or not, a new era of strict marijuna regulation and harsh criminal penalties soon followed.

In the 1930s, states throughout the country adopted harsh laws for marijuana users and sellers, including those that placed possession of the smallest amounts in jail for 10 years and socked them with fines of up to $20,000.

Flash forward to the early 1970s, when Colorado and Ohio became among the first states to severely decriminalize marijuana use. Then turn to today, when 20 states — not including Ohio — have legalized marijuana for medical use. Colorado and Washington state have gone farther yet this year by legalizing pot for recreational use.

If the Ohio Rights Group has its way, the Buckeye State will this year become the newest to legally permit marijuana use for medicinal purposes under highly regulated oversight. The group is collecting the 385,000 signatures it will need to place its proposed constitutional amendment on the state ballot this November.

WHAT STATE ISSUE WOULD DO

The proposal would give Ohio residents age 18 and older, who have a debilitating medical condition and meet eligibility requirements, the right to use, possess, acquire and produce cannabis.

It would permit eligible Ohio residents to cultivate hemp for thousands of industrial uses, such as for paper, fuel, foods, building materials, clothing and more. It would also allow taxation on the drug’s commercial trade. Regulating and overseeing all of this would be the Ohio Commission of Cannabis Control.

The Ohio Rights Group recently brought its campaign to the Mahoning Valley where four local families with young children suffering from epileptic seizures urged support for the initiative, arguing their children’s lives would be enhanced via access to the healing qualities they say marijuana produces.

Such emotional appeals will likely grow in intensity as the campaign evolves over the spring, summer and fall. Supporters, however, can also make logical appeals based on a clear evolution of support for their cause in recent decades.

In 1990, for example, an Associated Press poll found that 81 percent of Americans opposed making pot legal. In 2000, a similar AP poll found 61 percent opposing legalization. A Pew Research Poll in April 2013 showed that 77 percent of respondents said they believe marijuana should be legal for legitimate medical uses.

Nonetheless, opponents of such legalization aren’t about to stand still and silent. Foes of the amendment, such as the Drug Free Action Alliance, will advance their arguments that making marijuana legal for medical use would create problems in the workplace and could usher in ill consequences for the state’s young people.

Once supporters gather the requisite number of signatures — and they vow they easily will do so — expect a highly visible and animated debate that will join those surrounding other hot-button statewide issues and races in the critical 2014 General Election. At this early stage, we merely would prescribe healthy doses of honesty, fairness and transparency from both sides of the pot debate.


Comments

1SimonTheSorcerer(1 comment)posted 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Check out the list of places in Colorado, where you can buy marijuana legally:
http://simonsblogpark.com/legalhigh/l...

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2thirtyninedollars(226 comments)posted 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Ohio Rights group is a joke. They have been collecting sigs for the last 3 years at least and refuse to submit them. Why?
Why is Ohio stalling the bill in the medical committee? A local rep has submitted a bill for the last 2 years only for it to die in the committee. Do they still think they can make more money off seizures and putting people in jail?

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3AmyWollet(1 comment)posted 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Good article. I hope people realize the amazing benefits this plant has to offer.

Children of Ohio In need of Medical Cannabis
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ohio-c...

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4Jerry(495 comments)posted 7 months, 3 weeks ago

If the active component of marijuana (THC) has medicinal value, why can it not be distilled and put into a pill, or injection, or inhaler, or skin patch? Why is the discussion about legalizing the SMOKING of pot?

Surely there would be more effective and healthy means of administering the drug than rolling up dried leaves in cigarette paper, burning it, and inhaling the smoke into one's lungs? Does grandma really have to toke on a dooby for her glaucoma???

Can someone speak to this, and answer my questions. I'm a rather libertarian type guy, but I find it hard to believe that the whole "medical marijuana" argument is not just a weak pretense.

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5BhangChocolate(1 comment)posted 7 months, 3 weeks ago

No grandma does not need to toke on a doobie. In fact "smoking"' will soon be a thing of the past. There are hundreds of edibles, topicals, drinks and vaporizers that would get the job done. If you believe studies that say chocolate is healthy for you then Bhang Cocolates are effectively a healthy medicine delivery method. I would encourage you to do some research on some of the products available in Mi, Ca,Co etc. you would be very surprised. I also encourage you to visit ohiorights.org. Disregard the first comment as it is very inaccurate. The Ohio Rights Group is less than one year old and has been collecting signatures for 6 months.

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6Jerry(495 comments)posted 7 months, 3 weeks ago

So, why do we need a constitutional amendment??.........As opposed to simply changing our FDA regulations to allow legitimate development and distribution of cannabinoid compounds as controlled substances, just like any other prescription drug??

BTW.......your reference to Bhang Chocolates, an internet purveyor of drug laced chocolate from the left coast, did not go very far to convince me of your serious scientific interest in the medicinal use of marijuana.

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7MikeShim(1 comment)posted 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Id like to comment on the question regarding extraction of thc as opposed to smoking.

The reason that marinol or other types of drugs which synthesize thc do not work as well as the actual plant is that cannabis consists of a large number of active compounds. These compounds all have different benefits and provide relief from different ailments. Yes THC is a major active component but there are also many cannabinoids in the plant as well as terpenes that provide the effect. As well as the different compounds there are also different strains of cannabis, and the strains have different healing properties based on the chemical make up. Some strains of cannabis are good for pain relief while others may simply be a mood stabilizer. The strain of cannabis best suited to treat epilepsy in youths contains a very minute amount of THC but the cannabinoids have proven to be a miracle treatment when all other medications have failed. There is much more to this plant than smokin it to get high. It is an actual medicine. It should have always been treated as such.

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8Jerry(495 comments)posted 7 months, 3 weeks ago

@MikeShim – I appreciate your comments and information Mike. You may well be sincere; but my questions and suspicions still stand.

Why do we need to add an 1800 word amendment to the Ohio Constitution, as opposed to simply allowing the State Legislature to do their job and alter the necessary laws and regulations concerning controlled substances and prescription medicines?

If this is about “medicinal use”, why does the proposed amendment contain the following passage?...... “Eligible residents who make therapeutic use of Cannabis shall have the right to produce their own Cannabis…...”. There is no other prescription “medicine” for which the users are allowed to produce their own.

If this is about “medicinal use”, why does the proposed amendment contain the following passage, making it darn near impossible to legally define “under the influence” for the purposes of legally sanctioning people for activity conducted while impaired, such as DUI

“An eligible resident shall not be considered to be under the influence of Cannabis for therapeutic use solely because of the presence of active or inactive metabolites of Cannabis in the eligible resident’s urine, blood, tissue, hair or skin or as detectable by any other measure of body chemistry. The legal definition of impairment as a result of the therapeutic use of Cannabis and the applicable testing to determine such impairment shall be based on scientific evidence of impairment.”

If presence in the urine, blood, tissue, hair, or skin or as detectable by any other measure of body chemistry is NOT sufficient evidence to indicate someone is under the influence……then what “scientific evidence” is there? This paragraph virtually ensures that no one will ever be held responsible for doing anything while impaired or under the influence.

Sure looks to me like this whole thing is all about smoking pot to get high, and not getting held responsible for any negative outcomes; using the claim of "medicinal use" as a pretense.

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9YtownParent(293 comments)posted 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I agree with you 100% over the impairment part Jerry. Washington and Colorado's legalization laws clearly define what blood level of THC is a legal limit in regards to impairment. Going over the legal limit gets you the same consequences as driving over the legal blood alcohol limit. I would vote for full legalization for any recreational purpose for all the reasons stated above (its therapeutic purposes, the wasted costs of incarceration, all the side uses of hemp like paper and clothing, the tax revenue and job creation) but without clear legal limits of impairment, I'll vote against it.

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10scotty(1 comment)posted 7 months, 2 weeks ago

in 2010 while at work I fell off a machine and shattered my heel due to the injury I was given heavy pain killers till the time of my surgery and for a time of 6 months after my surgery in that time I developed a dependency for opiates and now due to the dependency for the prescription drugs I am now in a rehab program getting suboxone to prevent the withdraw for the the prescription drugs and I have perminute nerve damage in my foot constant pain post traumatic arthritis and because of the addition to the prescription drugs the doctors will not issue me anything for my pain and there are days where I am not able to hardly walk so I end up missing work but with medical cannabis certain strains releave my pain and make it possible for me to work

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11dontbeafool(881 comments)posted 7 months, 2 weeks ago

I think a point missing here is this. Pot smokers are going to smoke pot, legal or not. It is readily available anytime you want it. How much money is being generated for the state and our community when Joe Blow buys week from the local dealer? NONE. Sure there will be more people who might be afraid to smoke it now because it is against the law, but for the most part, if people want to smoke it, they are going to do it anyway, legal or not. States might as well regulate it, tax it, and benefit from it. And when I say regulate it, that includes the safety aspects of it. Who knows what the dimebag on the street is laced with. One thing I may add is that I hope states who legalize it put disclaimers out stating the harmful effects of it and make purchasers sign waivers giving up their right to sue down the road for medical conditions.

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12cf1982(1 comment)posted 6 months, 2 weeks ago

regarding pot, read this article, regarding smoking, and your employability (in colorado)

http://www.safetynewsalert.com/how-do...

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13KMAP(1 comment)posted 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Ya know, I have been watching this issue in Ohio from afar for YEARS and this state has not come any closer to making it lawful (which it should be!) than a snow ball has a chance in...u know where!
I sat in a classroom at Kent State Univ when in 1975, and it was announced, OHIO WAS ONE of 8 states to "decriminalize" and that is where they stopped! You are STILL arrested for it, or HIGH "taxed" going through the courts! WTF.... over? Noticed I said TAXED and not fined. There was a heck of a movement in this state...what the heck happened??
I knew where the hometown cops use to buy their stashes, course as long as they were able to take it from you, they did not need to buy from anyone.
IF just 1/4th of the boneheads in an "elected" office would get off their &%*!'n ass and ADMIT they smoke it, the world would be a whole better place. Lots of professional people consume pot, but oh no, can't admit it. I am SO mad I can spit nails!!!!!
I have recently moved back home here in Ohio and if I have anything to do with this you bet I will not sit here and talk about it. All I hear is " Marijuana, it's illegal." Has no one heard of the 10th Amendment and states doing whatever they want. FEDERAL LAWS do not affect the states unless the state LET's THEM! If it is "FUNDS" from the federalis holding the state back...phuey I say for the $$ made from pot would probably SURPASS federalis funds given to that state.... Federal studies were BOTCHED/FUDGED, we were LIED to... and if there is STILL a problem then I suggest:
Change one's perspective on an issue and you change their belief.

There are plenty of studies out there to prove this substance is Harmless, and a well published history of the plant alone, if someone denies "that there are NO or NOT ENOUGH studies", then there are HIGH walls in that mind put there by one hell of a propaganda program, and they should sit down and take a hit....keep watching Fox Snews.
Tsk Tsk, this issue should have been solved a long time ago.
Had to Vent!

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