Scioto County Health Commissioner Dr. Aaron Adams believes more studies should be done and more data made available before legalizing medicinal marijuana.
On Thursday, backers of a proposed 2016 ballot measure to establish a comprehensive medical marijuana program in Ohio submitted their initiative petition to the Ohio Attorney General with more than 2,000 signatures.
“I think we need to do a lot more research on the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes,” Adams told the Daily Times in an exclusive interview Friday. “At this point I think the game is still out. The decisions are out. People are talking about different things and outcomes but there needs to be a clear evidence-based path to indicate how this stuff should be used and when it should be used and who is going to regulate it.”
The office of Mike DeWine has 10 days to examine the official summary of the initiative and confirm the petition contains at least 1,000 valid signatures of Ohio voters. The petition will then be sent to the Ohio Ballot Board, which will have 10 days to review the measure and confirm it complies with Ohio initiative laws. Initiative backers will then need to collect an additional 305,591 valid signatures of Ohio voters by early July in order to qualify for the November ballot.
“This initiative was drafted to ensure seriously ill Ohioans have safe and legal access to medical marijuana if their doctors believe it will alleviate their pain and suffering,” MPP communications director Mason Tvert said. “The one benefit of not already having a medical marijuana law is that we were able to incorporate the best practices and lessons learned from the 23 states that do have one.”
Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, a campaign committee formed by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), posted the full initiative text, the official initiative summary, and a Q&A with MPP Executive Director Rob Kampia on its website earlier this week at https://www.ohioansformmj.org/initiative.
“What I hope we don’t end up with is that down the road we end up with something else we’re going to misuse and abuse,” Adams said. “We’ve been through that with prescription drugs and we go through it all the time with the illegal substances and it’s a world-overload feeling with us as we all well know, we have lived it every day of our lives here.”
In summary, Tvert says the initiative would allow patients with debilitating medical conditions to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it and protect them from arrest, prosecution, or discrimination with regard to housing, health care (such as organ transplants), and child custody; permit qualifying patients to grow a limited amount of marijuana for their medical use, designate a caregiver to grow it for them, or purchase medical marijuana from licensed and well-regulated dispensaries; maintain commonsense restrictions on the medical use of marijuana, such as prohibitions on public marijuana use and driving under the influence of marijuana; and establish a Medical Marijuana Control Division to oversee a tightly controlled system of licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation facilities, distributors, processing facilities, and testing facilities.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.