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Pot Rx: Will Ohio Ever Legalize Medical Marijuana?

Discussion in 'Medical Marijuana Usage and Applications' started by RMJL, Nov 21, 2003.

    by John Lasker, (Source:Cleveland Free Times)

    19 Nov 2003

    Nine states have passed legislation legalizing medicinal marijuana, and the Ohio Patient Network is hoping that the Buckeye State will soon join them. But that may be too much to ask of our Republican-dominated state government - even as thousands of ill Ohioans suffer.

    WHAT DO YOU GET with a bong, some "sticky" and a pothead? Clouds, of course. What do you get with a Republican-dominated state legislature, and a governor and first lady with a slant against illegal drug use during a presidential election year when a proposal for an Ohio medicinal marijuana law is floated?

    At best, you might get a big "maybe." Most likely, however, it will be a big "no."

    But when new legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Ohio is actually introduced, which some expect could happen within weeks if at all, it will be a chance for the Buckeye State to join nine other states that permit medicinal marijuana use for persons with certain kinds of illnesses.

    Ohio medicinal marijuana proponents are currently ironing out some details in a bill they've been drafting for more than a year. But as the drafting of the Ohio Medicinal Marijuana Act is being completed and readied to be introduced in the state legislature, even the bill's proponents grudgingly acknowledge that Ohio is still a long way politically and socially from ever getting close to a whiff of enabling legislation that would allow those who suffer from cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and a host of other ailments, the choice to benefit from medicinal marijuana.

    THE NONPROFIT OHIO PATIENTS Network ( OPN ), a major advocate of the medicinal marijuana bill, recently forwarded a draft recommendation to Democratic State Representative Ken Carano. The Youngstown legislator is considered by OPN to be one of a handful of politicians who would consider introducing a bill in a state legislature where Republicans outnumber Democrats two to one.

    Not only would Carano have to deal with the large party imbalance in the House, but he would also have to take on Bob and Hope Taft. First Lady Hope Taft openly opposed and campaigned vigorously against the Ohio Drug Treatment Initiative, known then as Issue 1, which would have permitted treatment in place of incarceration in some kinds of drug offenses. The initiative failed and drug-law reformers view the Tafts as anti-drug zealots who would most likely crusade against a medicinal marijuana bill, even if it would benefit thousands of ill Ohioans. What's more, the Tafts are acknowledged to be among the nation's leading "war on drugs" proponents, and Hope Taft's one-note crusade has earned her an advisory position with the Office of National of Drug Control Policy, the federal government's command center for the so-called war.

    It's probably safe to say that presenting a medicinal marijuana bill to the Ohio Legislature in a presidential election year is like throwing a T-bone into a room of hungry Atkins dieters. It will be eaten and the bone gnawed and pulverized.

    Carano acknowledges that the Tafts and the executive branch of the Ohio State government, which includes other major Republican politicians jockeying to replace Taft in 2006, would line up in opposition to a medicinal marijuana bill.

    "The executive branch is pretty much against this," says Carano, who admits that just getting the bill into committee and thus into a debate among Republicans and Democrats would be a big victory.

    So far Carano's aides say he has been unable to recruit any co-sponsors for the proposed bill. Although it hasn't yet been introduced, a legislative forum is scheduled for December 2 for state office holders who may have questions about it. That forum could spell the difference between a medicinal marijuana bill being introduced or being shelved.

    A realist on the subject, Carano says he needs bipartisan help. "This bill goes nowhere if I can't get some Republicans on my side," he says.

    Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, an arch Republican conservative with designs on the governor's mansion, makes or breaks bills. Even if a medicinal marijuana bill is introduced, he can keep it buried forever. His office did not return multiple phone calls asking for comment. Carano believes there are a number of moderate Republicans who may be willing to listen about the bill, but the issue is, can they be convinced to co-sponsor it?

    JIM WHITE, OPN VICE PRESIDENT and the bill's principal author, says the most challenging obstacle to medicinal marijuana reform in Ohio is an obvious but potentially insurmountable hurdle.

    "Politicians are scared that if they show any compassion towards the medical use ( of marijuana ) that their opponents will label them 'soft on drugs'," says White, a 30-something father of two and computer-repair technician from Toledo.

    "Our biggest obstacle is ignorance and fear," White says. "Most people, and believe it or not, most doctors, know very little about the medical benefits of cannabis. And it's not that the evidence is not there. It is."

    Carano, a former teacher, stresses that in no way is he advocating the use of marijuana for any reason but medicinal. Along with "a strong basis of medical fact," he says his instinct is telling him that many could benefit from medicinal marijuana.

    He likens the debate to the short history of Oxycontin. There was widespread abuse among non-patients, but thousands more now depend on it for their quality of life. Carano says the premise of the "control" issue is whether or not medicinal marijuana can stay within the possession of patients and stay out of the hands of abusers.

    The "control" problem has become a major contention for the opposition - - most notably, the state's professional rehabilitation community. They see forms of medicinal marijuana heading the way of heroin and methadone, drugs created for medicinal applications eventually twisted into fuel for addiction.

    Some opponents of medicinal marijuana also say they have a simple answer for why they're against medicinal pot: It isn't a cure-all for anything.

    "I'm not doing this for fun and games," Carano says. "I want an honest debate from both sides of the argument." He says he's currently being "bombarded" with information, both pro and con, about medicinal marijuana use.

    Nevertheless, overshadowing any initiative seeking to relax any state drug law is the Governor Taft's office's slant against illegal buzzes. Take the recent confusion over the proposed medicinal marijuana bill.

    Carano, along with others, has been priming the bill for potential debate. In fact, Carano recently suggested to statehouse reporters that the bill's only chance might lie in how it stipulates delivery of the marijuana, or THC. Would it be in plant form or come only in the form of a pill - Marinol, which is currently legal in Ohio.

    CARANO'S IDEAS apparently caught OPN members off guard, and they immediately corrected Carano saying that the bill needs to allow for several delivery methods. Deirdre Zoretic, a thirtysomething Lakewood resident and director of patient advocacy for the OPN, says many patients found that a medicinal marijuana pill, such as Marinol, worsened their nausea.

    "That was just an idea," says Zoretic, the mother of an 8-year-old boy. "Different patients need different methods of delivery. Whether that's ingesting it, a rub, a mist, or a product called the 'Volcano' ( an inhaler-like apparatus available in Europe )." She adds, "I would like to keep the smoking method open, as well."

    In its three-year existence, OPN has become a formidable grass-roots organization pushing for medicinal marijuana use in Ohio. Zoretic says the organization has 600 members statewide and is seeking to gain the support of what she believes is a large number of Ohio medicinal marijuana users afraid to leave the proverbial closet.

    "I honestly feel there are thousands upon thousands already treating themselves with marijuana, and I believe many more thousands haven't discovered the benefits of medicinal marijuana yet," she says.

    Zoretic, who suffers from a debilitating disease called reflex sympathetic dystrophy ( RSD ), says there are roughly 200 documented medical applications for marijuana. They include relieving chronic pain, stimulating appetite for those undergoing chemotherapy, and easing eye pressure for glaucoma sufferers. Marijuana also lessens the spasms associated with RSD, and Zoretic has been using medicinal marijuana on and off again for the last several years. She is currently on bed rest and has lost 50 pounds due to her illness.

    RSD is a chronic pain disorder involving the sympathetic nervous system, according to a website devoted to it. It usually is the result of an injury or trauma, but can also be a complication of surgery, infection, casting or splitting and myocardial infarction ( heart attack ). The trauma sets off the body's mechanism for pain recognition, but then the "normal system of pain perception" begins to misfire and an abnormal cycle of intractable pain begins. As RSD progresses, the abnormal pain of the sympathetic nervous system has an effect on other areas of the body and can result in total disability as muscles, bones, skin and the autonomic immune system become involved.

    What prompted Zoretic to become involved in legalizing medical marijuana usage was that she was busted, largely by accident, for growing and using marijuana for her RSD condition. She says that a fire broke out in a neighbor's house in the spring of 2000. Lakewood police burst into her house and accidentally discovered a number of plants she grew to help her deal with the symptoms of her illness. Because of that incident, Zoretic and her husband were convicted in the spring of 2001 of violating state marijuana laws, but were not sentenced to jail or probation and merely paid $500 in court costs.

    She was, however, forced to stop using marijuana for a time. After using 40 different drugs to try to help her condition, none of which really helped, she says "the only thing that works is marijuana." She says she has no choice but to break the law.

    "I could have stopped using and watch myself waste away," she says, "or I could break the law, go on living and raise my son."

    Not surprisingly, it wouldn't be the last time "anti-drug warriors" would push her around, both mentally and physically.

    Last fall, after an Issue 1 debate at the Cleveland City Club, Zoretic tried to offer Governor Taft a summary of a White House-commissioned 1999 Institute of Medicine report that concludes that medicinal marijuana is beneficial for some patients. But before she could reach the governor, the tall, slender Hope Taft grabbed the petite Zoretic and physically held her back.

    To Zoretic's surprise, Hope Taft was familiar with her and her cause. Zoretic says before the debate, the Plain Dealer had collected questions from area residents, and she was chosen to ask her question via videotape by WVIZ. The Tafts, however, were allowed to preview all the questions.

    "I started to explain to her who I was and she knew," recalls Zoretic.

    She says Hope Taft at least listened to what she had to say and even offered sympathy for those seeking medicinal marijuana.

    ZORETIC AND OTHER OPN members have spoken to "dozens of legislators" who say they would "go public" with their endorsement of medicinal marijuana if a large number of their constituents showed support. Zoretic and White say wide public support does exist, and it's now up to these same legislators to have a little courage.

    "It's a shame because some of these patients are fighting for their lives, while politicians fight for a spot on next year's ballot," White says. "But the reality is, voters are more likely to support candidates who support medical use of cannabis."

    In Athens, home of Ohio University, another proponent of medicinal marijuana who's also felt the sting of anti-drug warriors, says Canada and Britain are leaving their past marijuana prejudices behind because of overwhelming evidence saying that thousands of sick people can improve their lives by using medicinal marijuana. In both nations, a doctor or the government can prescribe medicinal marijuana for legal use.

    Don Wirtshafter, who once ran the Ohio Hempery just outside Athens, says he's traveled to England for months at a time during the last two years, consulting for several pharmaceutical operations seeking to introduce medicinal marijuana products.

    "Eighty-one percent of multiple sclerosis patients in England and 96 percent in Canada said herbal cannabis is good medicine," says Wirtshafter, adding that marijuana decreases the number and severity of spasms in MS patients. The studies were conducted with the help of pharmaceutical companies and multiple sclerosis groups.

    "The British and Canadians are clearly in favor of medicinal marijuana," he says.

    The Ohio Hempery was once world-renowned for its cannabis wares, but Wirtshafter was compelled to close it down two years ago after the Drug Enforcement Agency stepped up its crackdown on the distribution of hemp seeds and other hemp products. He's since moved his operation to Canada.

    What will become of the Ohio Medicinal Marijuana Act, and whether it will be introduced in the Ohio legislature is still an open question. But the fact that State Representative Ken Carano is working to find co-sponsors so a bill can be introduced into the Legislature is a big step in Ohio. For thousands of sick Ohioans who could benefit from the use of legalized medical marijuana, the question is, how long can they wait?



    Medicinal marijuana proponents earned a victory in mid-October when the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for state laws allowing ill patients to smoke marijuana if a doctor recommends it. The high court turned down the Bush administration's request to consider whether the federal government can punish doctors for recommending or perhaps just talking about the benefits of the drug to sick patients.

    Because the Supreme Court declined to intervene, doctors in Oregon and eight other states can continue to give patients information about medicinal marijuana without fear that the federal government might go after their medical licenses.

    The eight other states, not including Ohio, with laws legalizing marijuana for people with physician recommendations or prescriptions include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada and Washington. In addition, 35 states have passed legislation recognizing marijuana's medicinal value. Federal law bans the use of pot under any circumstances. Marijuana falls into a group of drugs considered most dangerous by the federal government.

    The most recent Supreme Court ruling merely halted the courtroom battle over medicinal marijuana. The court did not address the legality of its use. Federal law clearly establishes that the use of marijuana, for any reason, is illegal.

    The case is Walters v. Conant, 03-40



    A study published recently in a respected English medical journal says that a marijuana pill appeared to relieve some of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis in the first scientifically rigorous study of the strongly debated drug.

    The research, published in the first week of November in The Lancet medical journal, found that even though improvements could not be detected by doctors' tests, a greater proportion of patients taking the drug reported reduced pain and muscle stiffness than those taking fake capsules. One study leader, Dr. John Zajicek of the University of Plymouth in England, said the research raises questions about what's more important: a doctor's measurements or the patient's perspective.

    "I think if there's a conflict, it's what the patient feels which is important, so I think it's quite encouraging," Roger Pertwee, a professor of neuropharmacology at University of Aberdeen, said. He was not connected with the study.

    Multiple sclerosis, a common nervous system disease, causes a range of chronic symptoms, including muscle stiffness and spasms, pain, tremor, fatigue, depression and bladder problems. It is difficult to study because the disease is unpredictable and its symptoms hard to measure. Orthodox treatments often provide inadequate relief, so many MS sufferers experiment with alternatives, including cannabis and its major active components - cannabinoids.

    There have been anecdotal reports of the success of cannabis in treating MS symptoms, particularly muscle stiffness, but there has been little scientific evidence. The study was set up to test the theory that cannabis and cannabinoids reduce muscle stiffness and may help alleviate other MS-related symptoms. It involved 630 multiple sclerosis patients from around Britain. One-third received a capsule containing whole cannabis oil; another third took one containing a synthetic version of a cannabinoid known as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. The rest got a fake capsule. Results were reported after 15 weeks of treatment.

    Fifty-seven percent of the patients taking the whole cannabis extract said their pain had eased, compared with 50 percent on THC and 37 percent on dummy capsules. For muscle stiffness, 61 percent on cannabis extract and 60 percent on THC reported an improvement, compared with 46 percent on fake treatment. Patients reported improved sleep and fewer or less intense muscle spasms. Those who could walk showed improved walking ability.



    a.. The medical use of marijuana enjoys wide public support . More than 70% of respondents to recent surveys agree that marijuana should be available medically. Sources: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates, Feb. 14-19, 2001, and The Gallup Poll, March 19-21, 1999.

    b.. Marijuana is safe . The Drug Enforcement Administration ( DEA ) Administrative Law Judge, Francis L. Young stated in his 1988 ruling, "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known. [The] provisions of the [Controlled Substances] Act permit and require the transfer of marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for the DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance." Source: In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition. U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Agency, Docket #86-22, September 6, 1988, p. 57.

    c.. Marijuana can be used to treat a variety of conditions . Approved by voter initiative in 1998, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act allows for the use of marijuana to treat cancer, glaucoma, AIDS/HIV, cachexia, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures ( epilepsy ), and persistent muscle spasms ( multiple sclerosis ). Currently, more than 300 Oregon physicians participate in this program. A blue-ribbon panel of physicians, nurses, and patients appointed to review new indications added agitation from Alzheimer's disease to this list in July 2000. Source: Oregon Department of Human Services, Medical Marijuana Program,

    d.. Smoked marijuana is effective . Evaluation of controlled studies conducted in six different U.S. states indicates that smoked marijuana is 70-100 percent effective in controlling the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and substantially outperformed the synthetic THC capsule ( Marinol" ) and other commonly prescribed antiemetics. Source: Effects of Smoked Cannabis and Oral D9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol on Nausea and Emesis after Cancer Chemotherapy: A Review of State Clinical Trials, Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, Vol. 1( 1 ) 2001, p. 29. Richard E. Musty and Rita Rossi.

    e.. Marijuana is not a "gateway" drug . According to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, "There is no evidence that marijuana serves as a stepping stone [to other drugs of abuse] on the basis of its particular physiological effect. It does not appear to be a gateway drug to the extent that it is the cause or even that it is the most significant predictor of serious drug abuse." Source: Janet E. Joy, Stanley J. Watson, Jr., and John A. Benson, Jr., Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base, Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Research, Institute of Medicine. Washington DC: National Academy Press. Chapter 3, pp. 98-100. ( 1999 )

    MAP posted-by: Richard Lake

    Pubdate: Wed, 19 Nov 2003
    Source: Cleveland Free Times (OH)
    Copyright: 2003 Cleveland Free Times Media
    Page: Cover Feature Article
    Author: John Lasker
    Photo: THE ZORETIC FAMILY The criminal status of medical marijuana has caused serious problems for them, leading Deirdre and her husband Joseph to activism via the OPN.
    Photo: CARANO The Youngstown legislator takes the medicinal marijuana issue seriously
    Cited: Ohio Patient Network
  2. Thats effing weird.. Larry householder you say.. i wonder if hes any relation. Im a householder too lol
  3. Now a days drugs are very common to use and different different drugs are provided by the drug companies but the best quality of drug is not provide all the drugs are illegal drugs and people it take and get some health problems and also they were attract to that drugs and their future is spoiled.The supreme court give good suggestion that is doctors in Oregon and eight other states can continue to give patients information about medicinal marijuana without fear that the federal government might go after their medical licenses. Medical Marijuana fact is also helpful.
    Ohio drug treatement is the best for drug addition
    Ohio Drug Treatment
  4. Sounds like you have the red state blues.
  5. This state of Ohio is very sunny actually as far as marijuana laws.

    I find my medicine whenever I need it, and I never need it, but I want it, so i find it whenever I want it, and the punishments are not harsh..
  6. would be nice to hear any ohioian updates. That would be a big win for the USA if Ohio allowed medical marijuana
  7. i live in ohio and wish they would finally legalize mmj...
  8. a article from 6 years ago...
  9. Even if its from 6 years ago... We got cali and massachusetts trying to tax and regulate it. MA does not have medicinal marijuana laws. Neither does Ohio, but both are decriminalized. I see it as a possibility, hopefully Ohio follows. Then MMJ patients wouldnt have to worry about anything, assuming taxation and regulation = legalization...
    For some reason I dont see it happening. Especially since only two states have tried yet.
  10. The supreme court give good suggestion that is doctors in Oregon and eight other states can continue to give patients information about medicinal marijuana without fear that the federal government might go after their medical licenses. Medical Marijuana fact is also helpful.


    Ohio Drug Treatment Centers
  11. I just moved to (strange as another planet to me),,,,, the lovely,wide open spaces,green in one way,,,,,state of Ohio. A few months ago,this trancendant move took place.. To say,,it has been difficult,,is comparing a shard of glass to Samurai sword.Both can cut deeply,,one straight through.
    Cold turkey,,is hideous,,,my choice,,as it seems I have no other,,,at the time.... Yet,as the many weeks go by,,,I feel no lessoning of the desire and NO relief from any ,,prescribed medicines. Pointless as it may be to disclose, I am sure there are many who feel as frustrated by such changes. Whereas pharmacuticals can give minor,temporary relief accompanied by side effects galore,can ALSO cause addiction,dependency and certainly even more severe deppression~? None of which are very helpful in the long run...
    Amazing the effect without natural medicine~
    Plain old,hardcore depression has ensued.To one,,who is not at all,,, so~Indigo~
    I believed the medicine to have assisted in mental detatchment from chronic pain ,,most of all. Allowing the ability for a full functioning creative,,,who is not so,,at this time. At this time,,in truth, I had no idea,,,months later,,I would feel as blue as deep water,combined with other health issues ,,untreated .
    Due to the hypocrytical choices and whims of politicians motivated by votes and an arcaic sense of false morality. When will government allow one of the least distructive natural drugs to be regulated and decriminalized? In all states...Relpace the destrctive forms of modern industry(including pharmacutical companies)paper,clothing,oil, with this amazing,multi~purposeful,,,so called WEED? So many positives, to be shared and so many with an uneducated, narrow view regarding this subject.
    It is human nature for some(NOT ALL) to abuse whatever they can,,drugs,people,the defenseless,,yet it is wrong for the rest of the population to be catergorized,criminalized and treated as addicts ,,,, when one is seeking a non destructive form of personnel healthcare...
    Sorry,,I know ,,I am singing to the CHIOR ,,,stepping off soap box to pout thouroughly now...I have one helluva rant inside and this is the tiny tip of the verbal Tsunami on this subject. Thankyou for reading..

    As others have written,,,this is complete utter and total fiction,an explosive rant freeform,devoid of ANY personal conent. For humerous,comedic content only.

    I apologize for spelling and grammar errors,,not in the mood to fiddle w~it.
    Be well~
  12. Wishing everyone health and happiness~In your preferred,non~destructive form~
  13. Dude, not many states get more red than Montana. it's not a red state thing, it's personal liberty thing.
    lots of "red" states are like my blasted NC, at the local level they're very "blue" about lots of stuff.
    Of course, here in NC cotton and wood pulp lobby don't help the situation at all
  14. A ray of hope for Ohio! :D

    Home | The Ohio Medical Cannabis Act of 2012

    And is run by a lady from Ohio! Good place to start your day with the latest in cannabis news- and the comments are way often more informative than the news articles! :smoke:

    Granny :wave:
  15. As long as we have an ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE Republican Brain NON Progressive Thinking Dominating CONTROL FREAK Governor in will hold back ANY chance of Legalizing Medical Marijuana.Kasich MUST go.With Michigan (a Legal State) being SO is sad to feel that Legalization is SO FAR AWAY! We must be positive...Eventually,I believe, we will get this issue on the BALLOT. I have suffered from Chronic Pain now for over 16 years.....I now take 180 5MG Oxycotins a month!!!! I have tried cannabis for pain and it DOES work.It DISTRACTS you from the pain & Depression. I would love to reduce my addiction to pain meds....which..I feel..I could accomplish with Medical Marijuana.
  16. Just about all hope is lost for Ohio. To many so called leaders and to many outside groups involved. The one group had it beat and was just down to collecting 385000 signatures to get it on the ballot. The "leader" got all piss off because no one would give him the 4 million dollars he wanted to move forward so he gave up and handed his alread approved wording over to this group. They still only have to collect the 385,000 signatures but it's more like a I'm sick and fell sorry for me group and it wont go far. That is a shame because Tonya was the poster child for Medical Marijuana in Ohio.
    Welkom bij Facebook - Meld je aan, registreer je of ontdek meer

    The OMCA2012 group has their stuff all messed up. They can't even get the first 1000 signatures to get their wording to the Attorny General. But once they do, it will never pass. I don't know who come up with the concept of our law will be we will make a commission to make the laws and thats our law. Also that everyone in Ohio is a patient makes it look like total legalization. I guess I just don't ever see that working. They have said from the start that they are for the patient but wants all these fines and fees added to the to law. Guess if it does pass, the patient will pay for it all. Maybe they should have worked together we could have had it by this time next year.
  17. Just come up here to Michigan and be done with it.

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