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OPPA takes formal position of opposition on marijuana legalization

COLUMBUS, Oh. – Concerned that Ohio’s Issue 3 to legalize marijuana in Ohio and jeopardize the health and well-being of Ohioans, the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association (OPPA) has issued a position statement in opposition to the legalization of marijuana in Ohio. In November of 2015, Ohioans will decide whether to amend the state constitution to permit both “medical” and recreational use of marijuana. As arguments have largely been motivated by politics and financial interests, the OPPA identified a need for a consensus opinion based upon scientific and medical knowledge, particularly as it relates to the drug’s impact on general health, mental health and the drug’s addictive potential.

OPPA Position Paper on Marijuana Legalization

“As the citizens of Ohio prepare to vote on the important issue of legalization of both recreational and ‘medical’ marijuana in our state, we felt that in our role as physicians who specialize in the evaluation and treatment of mental illness and addictions it was our responsibility to share what research has taught us about the health and public health issues associated with the use of marijuana” said OPPA President Steven W. Jewell, MD.  “It is our hope that this information, drawn from the most recent scientific studies, will help inform the electorate’s decision on this critical issue.”

Jason Jerry, MD, Chair of the OPPA Committee on Addiction and Pain Control stated “Research shows that marijuana use causes cognitive impairment and changes in brain structure and functioning, increased risk of psychosis, accelerating the development of schizophrenic symptoms, exacerbation of anxiety and depression, is associated with increased incidences of drugged driving and fatal car accidents and an increased likelihood of using other illicit substances.”

The OPPA hopes that by widely sharing its position paper, doctors, citizens and legislators in the State of Ohio will be more informed as discussions continue about this critical issue as it enters into the political arena of the State of Ohio.


The Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association is a statewide medical specialty organization whose more than one thousand physician members specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illnesses, including substance use disorders. Psychiatric physicians utilize a variety of treatment options including psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy to effectively treat the dynamic, social and physical aspects of mental illnesses (brain disorders). The Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association is a district branch of the American Psychiatric Association, which was founded in 1844 and represents more than 36,000 psychiatric physicians nationally.

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