Youngstown group urges residents to stand against medical pot at today's council meeting

By William K. Alcorn


NOW Youngstown has issued a call to action to the 50-plus people attending its public meeting Tuesday to show up at city council’s meeting today to take a stand against marijuana, medical or recreational, in the city.

City council is slated to consider a resolution tonight supporting the location of facilities in the city for the cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes.

At Tuesday’s meeting, labeled “Medical Marijuana: The Rest of the Story,” the Rev. Al Yanno, pastor of Metro Assembly of God on South Avenue, urged the crowd to “stand with us as I express our opposition to the growing, cultivating, processing and dispensing of marijuana in our city.”

Panel members were the Rev. Gary Frost of Mission America Coalition; Dr. Augustine Biscardi, retired nephrologist; Dr. Robin Woodberry, associate pastor of Bethel Baptist Church; a spokesman for Ohio Valley Teen Challenge; and Jere Beulah, an ex-addict.

“No one should be deceived. The ultimate goal is to make Ohio a recreational marijuana state,” said the Rev. Mr. Frost.

“Once medical marijuana gets a foothold in Youngstown, we will shortly see the arrival of recreational marijuana,” Mr. Frost contended. “If we are going to discuss the medical, we need to have a simultaneous conversation about the recreational. When we make decisions, we need to consider how they affect our most vulnerable. No one is thinking about children. It’s all about money.”

“The reason we are opposed to medical marijuana is because we know it will open the door to recreational marijuana,” said the Rev. Mr. Yanno.

Dr. Biscardi said he has a son trying to recover from drug addiction that started with marijuana and moved on to other drugs. Marijuana “provides an atmosphere where other drugs can be introduced,” he said.

“It’s our responsibility to love and protect and look out for our children, the Rev. Dr. Woodberry said. “The last thing they need is another challenge. They are in a fight for their lives. The last thing we need is to make marijuana acceptable ... just for a dollar.”

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