Confusion about what's next for medical marijuana after DC announcement

TOLEDO, Ohio (13abc Action News) - There is confusion about what Ohio's medical marijuana program will look like after big news out of Washington.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the federal government will take a more hands on approach to marijuana enforcement. This as medical marijuana will be available in Ohio later this year.

The idea during the Obama administration was more or less let the state's enforce marijuana as they see fit, especially if it is a state where marijuana was legal for medical or recreational purposes.

Now Sessions has reversed course leaving people in Ohio confused about what's coming next.

Ohio's medical marijuana program is about 9 months away from its expected start. But now will proposed changes to how the federal government enforces marijuana laws change things?

"People across the country are a little bit uneasy at this point. Especially people who have invested their livelihood into businesses to help the sick all the way to the recreational," said Kevin Spitler, owner of the Toledo Hemp Center.

Spitler has followed the issue closely for years and wonders if Congress may step in to change some federal law to allow states to continue their programs.

"It could drastically change really the businesses that evolved in this industry that's been going for 20 years,” said Spitler.

"I wish the attorney general would mind the store on other things and would put his efforts into this terrible addiction issue about opioids and worry less about medical marijuana," said Senator Sherrod Brown.

Senator Brown was in Toledo Friday talking about opioid addiction. An issue he thinks should be the priority.

Law enforcement also trying to figure out what's next.

"We're going to have to be educated. We're going to have to learn more how to handle those situations," said Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp. “We're going to continue to do what we do for law enforcement. If they have large quantities of marijuana they'll be charged."

“I’m concerned when the attorney general and the Justice Department, it's a huge operation, it's powerful and when they come in this way I'm concerned about what it means for people who need medical marijuana and believe it can help them," said Senator Brown.

Sheriff Tharp says although marijuana is not at the top of their priority list, he does worry about keeping marijuana away from kids. He believes that could be a gateway drug for kids so his office will still hit that area very hard.