On Tuesday, Ohio celebrated the defeat of marijuana legalization. Ohio is being looked at on a national level with articles from news outlets around the country that include the LA Times, the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN and many others.
The conversation about legalization is getting louder. Ohio needs to continue working hard to protect the health and safety of our children, families and communities.
While the recent proposed legislation failed, the use of medical marijuana remains an emotionally charged topic. Many compassionate voters and law makers support the use of medical marijuana for relieving pain or other specific medical problems such as seizure disorders among children.
As an example, Ohio currently has pending legislation HB 33: which would authorize use of cannabis and other cannabis-derived drugs and substances. Otherwise known as the “Charlotte’s Web” it is a strain of cannabis used for medical purposes and processed in to an extract. It does not induce a “high” associated with recreational marijuana and has very low (THC) of less than .3%. The extract can be given in a patch form or orally through an oil.
The day following the November election, Ohio State Representative Ryan Smith said he believes there is enough support at the state level to have medical marijuana available in Ohio soon. "It wouldn't surprise me to create a pathway to see it in the Ohio revised code next year," he said. (Nov. 4, 2015, 10 TV News)
More than ever, states should consider smart approaches to this discussion and monitor the impact in other legal states. In Colorado, between 2006 and 2012 medical marijuana cardholders rose from 1,000 to over 108,000. While some people may benefit from some of the compounds of marijuana, the average medical marijuana cardholder is a 32 yr. old white male with a history of alcohol and substance abuse and no history of a life-threatening illness.
Other cannabis-based drugs are already available in the market. For example Marinol® has been available by prescription for some patients since 1985 for nausea and appetite loss. The FDA is also in the late stages of approving a cannabis-based oral mouth spray.
As state lawmakers consider options, they should proceed with caution. Legalizing marijuana for medical purposes without clear limitations still opens the door for increased access of marijuana-infused products such as gummy-bears, candy-bars, sodas and baked goods that put children at-risk.