State lawmakers are exploring the possibility of allowing the use of marijuana in Ohio for medical purposes only (Source: “Ohio lawmakers look into medical use of pot,” Toledo Blade, Jan. 11, 2016).
Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and State Rep. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) held a press conference recently to announce details regarding the creation of a bipartisan task force charged with addressing the issue of medical marijuana. The task force is expected to host a series of hearings across the state to gauge Ohioans’ feelings on what that system might look like. Absent from those discussions, though, will be the idea of legalizing pot for recreational purposes or the wholesale and retail infrastructures that were blamed for the failure of Issue 3 on Nov. 3.
Sen. David Burke, R-Marysville, Ohio, does not support marijuana use, but said he would prefer that the the General Assembly explore the issue and potentially take action, rather than have the state Constitution amended as it was for casino gambling.
“There is more support among Ohioans for medical marijuana than there has been in the past,” said Sen. Burke, who is taking a lead on the issue in the Senate. “I believe it is prudent that the General Assembly function as it should and reflect the will of our constituents.”
Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio
The House has formed a 15 member committee to study the medical marijuana issue. This 15 member committee will discuss the issue and provide feedback to Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenburger by March 31st. Upon completion of the process, the Speaker will determine whether a medical marijuana bill will be introduced. The members of that committee are:
Rep. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton), chair
Rep. Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City)
Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain)
Dr. Brian Santin, Ohio State Medical Association
Nick Lashutka, president, the Ohio Children's Hospital Association
Betty Montgomery, former Ohio Attorney General
Chris Stock, advocate for medical marijuana
Jimmy Gould, formerly of ResponsibileOhio
Bill Sopko, chair of the Ohio Manufacturers' Association
Lora Miller, Ohio Council of Retail Merchants
Linda Hondros, Ohio Chamber of Commerce
Matt Szollosi, Affiliated Construction Trades
Larry Moliterno, Ohio Alliance of Recovery Providers
Gary Wolske, Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio
Matt Lutz, Muskingum County Sheriff
The two advocates for medical marijuana are both from the Responsible Ohio campaign and have agreed to drop the Fresh Start Act, which would have created a system for individuals to expunge drug offenses from their criminal record.
The Ohio Senate will be taking a different approach to the issue by holding public testimonies around the state with Cleveland being the host city for the first of these public meetings. That meeting will be held on Saturday, January 30, 2016 at 10:00 am at the Gerald H. Gordon Conference Pavilion at the Wolstein Center on the campus of Cleveland State University. Other locations include Toledo, Cincinnati and Columbus, although dates for those events have not been announced. You're encouraged to attend the forums or submit written testimony directly to Senator Burke at Burke@OhioSenate.gov and Senator Yuko at Yuko@OhioSenate.gov.
Source: Drug Free Action Alliance