Medical Marijuana May Go on Ohio Ballot

Medical Marijuana May Go on Ohio Ballot
Posted by CN Staff on August 18, 2007 at 06:47:22 PT
By Alan Johnson, The Columbus Dispatch 
Source: Columbus Dispatch
Ohio -- A statewide issue to legalize medical marijuana is headed for the ballot in Michigan next year -- and could swing south to Ohio shortly thereafter. The nonprofit Drug Policy Alliance, which backed an unsuccessful 2002 Ohio constitutional amendment to require treatment instead of imprisonment for nonviolent drug offenders, is watching Michigan closely, a spokesman said.
A dozen states already have some form of medical marijuana law on the books."Ohio would be a state worth considering, certainly a high priority. It would be a question of timing," said Edward J. Orlett, a former Democratic state legislator who represents the Drug Policy Alliance in Ohio. Marijuana contains THC, a powerful chemical that can produce a sense of euphoria.According to some but not all medical practitioners, it also is useful in limiting pain; suppressing nausea and increasing appetite in cancer and HIV/AIDS patients; and relaxing symptoms of multiple sclerosis.It can be smoked or taken orally.Amanda Conn Starner, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, said agency officials think there is "no need to change ODADAS's policy on medicinal marijuana. We continue to monitor research on the topic."Any Ohio marijuana vote almost certainly would reunite the three high-powered businessmen-activists-philanthropists who bankrolled the 2002 ballot issue -- George Soros, Peter Lewis and John Sperling. The issue was defeated by a 2-1 ratio at the polls.Lewis, president of Progressive Corp. of Cleveland, the third-largest insurer in the U.S., has given $7 million to the Marijuana Policy Project, a national organization that maps out ballot issues and legislative lobbying. He is an admitted user of marijuana and hashish.The project recently awarded a startup grant to the Ohio Patient Network, a Columbus-based group that supports medical marijuana.Dianne Byrum, spokeswoman for the Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care, said the group needs to gather more than 500,000 signatures to get the issue on the November 2008 ballot."It would allow for the medical use of marijuana with a doctor's permission," Byrum said. "This is not a broad use of marijuana. It would be under very controlled circumstances."The Michigan Democratic Party has endorsed the issue. In addition, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint and Traverse City passed ordinances instructing law-enforcement officials to not make it a "priority" to arrest patients who use medical marijuana, even though it remains illegal.Ohio Rep. Robert F. Hagan, D-Youngstown, sponsored a bill in the last legislative session to legalize medical marijuana. The bill died without a hearing. Now, Hagan is encouraging backers to take the issue to the ballot."I feel very strongly there should be alternatives to pain medication," he said. "If people feel in the last days of their life, when they are in terrific pain, that they need an alternative, the doctor should allow that to happen."Hagan's father, also a state legislator, died of three forms of cancer. Now, Hagan's elderly mother is suffering from lung cancer.Hagan said he assured her that if she wants medical marijuana to ease the pain, he will get it."If I need it," she responded, "I would take it."Opposing points of view on this issue can be viewed at and Michigan's vote of interest to proponents here.Source: Columbus Dispatch (OH)Author: Alan Johnson, The Columbus Dispatch Published: Saturday, August 18, 2007Copyright: 2007 The Columbus DispatchContact: letters dispatch.comWebsite: CannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #7 posted by ekim on August 18, 2007 at 12:17:21 PT
help get petition signed in MI
Nov 8 is the last day to get signers it is half over allreadyother news ---Pete has posted story on Wash Post that looks at the real problem with Prohibition that the Wash Times will not talk about
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on August 18, 2007 at 10:49:02 PT
The thirteen original states.
Being the state to be the thirteenth to try and protect it's citizens from an unholy war will be a patriotic honor, as it will be a fine match to recall the memory and the boldness of the original thirteen states that bravely rebuked that other overweening government. A special wholeness, matching our history, will have been attained.When will the Federal government wake up? The thirteenth? The twenty fifth? The twenty sixth? The fiftieth? When?
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Comment #5 posted by whig on August 18, 2007 at 10:35:59 PT
Who will be the 13th state of the union
to end cannabis prohibition?Someone with more artistic talent than me should draft a banner to use for the occasion.We the people of the [soon to be] thirteen united states of America which have by the action of their people or their legislators recognized the need of ending cannabis prohibition so that the sick and suffering could be given medicine which they require do now declare that the federal government must respect our reserved powers to protect the health of the people of our states...Someone else could probably go further with this and write it a lot better for a general audience.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on August 18, 2007 at 07:22:57 PT
I kid about spelling Ohio but so many people in our state would benefit if medical marijuana was allowed. I am so proud of our new Governor Strickland. The times they are a changin'
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on August 18, 2007 at 07:06:04 PT
Do you mean? LOL!
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Comment #2 posted by Toker00 on August 18, 2007 at 07:03:28 PT
That's great, FoM!
Hey, watch out for the O-high-O jokes, though. :)Toke.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on August 18, 2007 at 06:49:32 PT
Just a Comment
Maybe there is a little hope now with the Democrats in power in Ohio. I really hope so.
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