Move to allow medical marijuana in Ohio - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Move to allow medical marijuana in Ohio

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Text of Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment

Earlier this month, Maryland became the 21st state to allow marijuana’s use for patients who get it prescribed by a doctor.

Ohio could be next to secure medical marijuana rights through an amendment being proposed to the state’s constitution called the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment.

In 2013, Washington State and Colorado legalized pot for recreational use.  Ohio’s amendment doesn’t go that far but medical marijuana could be the first step.get a chance to change the state’s Constitution in November?

Some consider pot an all-natural way to medicate.

Others believe weed is worse than alcohol and is a gateway to more dangerous drugs like heroin.

Decade’s ago, when the US declared war on marijuana in the 1930s, Americans were told one puff of pot would make you lose your mind.   But that stereotype doesn’t fit today’s reality.

Right now,  21-states allow marijuana for patients suffering from AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, Alzheimers, epilepsy and other ailments…  and Ohio could be next to take a hit.

Advocates are pushing changes to the state’s constitution allowing marijuana for medicinal purposes.

“You build a dependency on opioids.”

Kevin Spitler used pot medically when the doctor- prescribed drugs didn’t help with his back pain after he suffered an electrical shock.

He told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann, “I started using it more and more and found myself using less pharmaceutical drugs and taking the anxiety a lot better.”

Today, he is an unabashed supporter of medical marijuana in Ohio.  He runs a hemp store in Toledo with oils and tinctures he claims help patients handle pain without getting high.

“I have had no side effects.”

Patients like Linda also believe in the healing affects of marijuana.

She has titanium rods in her spine after surviving two serious accidents and Linda says marijuana soothed her when morphine couldn’t.

She says her doctors could do nothing else for her.   “My tolerance was just so high,” she says.  “They just kept giving them to me.  They’re not working.  I’m having all this pain.  Here, take some more of this, try this.”

The federal government says marijuana has no medical value and has a high potential for abuse.

So you would think that medical marijuana supporters would then craft a plan that would include doctors in diagnosing and prescribing pot  but the Ohio amendment essentially allows you to self-medicate once you are diagnosed with a delibiltating condition.

But there’s no doctor prescription..

No doctor recommend dosage or limits on usage.

No controls on the potency of the pot.

Kevin Spitler has no problem with the lack of medical oversight.  He says, “The actual Ohio amendment leaves out doctors they kind of take doctors out of the drug war; it’s an actual constitutional right for you to possess it, own it, sell it, buy it, cultivate it and so forth like that.”

“This is not just about making it available.  There’s a lot of things we have to think about.”

Some anti-drug groups worry kids will get a hold of potent medical marijuana stashes.

In 1972, the THC level, the chemical that gets you high, was just 4-percent in most marijuana.

But today’s growers are cross-breeding far more potent medicinal strains.

One legal dispensary in California is producing medicinal pot with a powerful 17-percent THC level.

Deb Chany with the Sylvania Community Action Team–an anti-drug group– says even partially legalized pot poses a threat.  She tells 13abc, “People that want it are going to find the people who have the medical marijuana prescription.”

Studies show pot alters a kid’s mind and affects their motivation.

And while opponents concede medical marijuana can help control chronic pain and reduce seizures they believe pot needs proper sanctioning.

State Representative Barbara Sears (R-47th) believes professionals should be involved in declaring medical marijuana safe, saying, “I think it needs to be regulated like any other prescription is regulated.”

And the Food and Drug Administration could regulate potency and determine potential side-effects.

But medical marijuana is an issue voters could decide.

13 abc asked voters what they think.

“Do you think it serves a medical purpose?” we asked.  “I think it would be good because people are in pain,” Tara Payton, said.

Angela Hurt said, “I think it’s a good idea to relieve some of their pain and suffering if it’s used correctly it could be advantageous.”

But the idea of any sort of legalization makes some like Ed Sitter, queasy.  He did not buy the argument that pot would be strictly for medicinal purposes.  “Yeah, right, ok, fine,” he said.  “So you think there will be a lot of people with sudden back pain? we asked.  “Yeah, trying to take advantage, exploit it,” he responded.

365,000 valid signatures gets the measure on the November ballot.

A Quinnipiac poll found  87-percent of Ohio voters approve of medical marijuana.

The amendment would create a 9-member panel that would license, .regulate and control medical marijuana use.

But is that enough?

Read the link to the amendment on our website then comment on our facebook page.

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