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Opinion: Ganja is coming to Ohio in November

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We are one month into the new year and there are already legislative movements pending for the future of 2016. In November, Ohioans will possibly take to the ballot for issues of legalization of medical marijuana. According to WCPO-Cincinnati, there are three ballot issues currently pending for November that will allow Ohioans to make the decision to make medical marijuana legal. If these issues receive the verification of signatures as expected, Ohio residents will see this issue on the ballot come November.

Ohio would not be the first state to put this issue on the ballot, and the state (if the bill passed) would not be the first state to allow this type of legislation. 21 states have already legalized medical use within their borders and four states (and D.C) have allowed for recreational use within their borders. Ohio has decriminalized marijuana in the state already. Medical legislation will benefit those suffering from cancer, seizures, glaucoma and Alzheimer’s, who are all battling dreaded diseases.  Medical marijuana will allow for the state to create jobs in a new field and will allow our state’s jail systems to free up. If you are in the shoes of someone suffering a traumatic disease, there is no reason for a beneficial medication being illegal.

Colorado is notorious for being a state where cannabis is legal for recreational use. If you, however, look at the statistics of just the medical use of cannabis in the state, there is one statistic that stands out. Forty-three percent of medical cannabis users in the state have caregivers to give patients their treatment. This statistic stands out because many in opposition to medical cannabis is quick to judge that medical use is for individuals who just want to get ‘high’. Those using the drug for medicinal purposes have a caregiver that gives them safe quantities. They are not just going to an ally and lighting up a joint; they are receiving the medication by a trained medical provider. The average age of all patients in Colorado is 42. Individuals receiving treatment are mostly middle-aged Coloradans who suffer from a medical condition.

Some local cities disagree with this issue taking the ballot come November. The possibility of medical marijuana passing is such a reality that Hamilton, Ohio outside of Cincinnati is in motion to prevent the sale of medical marijuana within its city limits. The city would still need approval from their city council, however, they are making a statement before November that they are opposed. If the law is passed for the state this year, they may have to edit their codes before 2016.

While medical cannabis has pros and cons like any other medication on the market, cannabis is a natural means of treatment for people with chronic pain. Individuals with chronic pain often turn to prescription drugs for their treatment. If you sit back and look at what is actually in a pill of a medication bottle, it’s very synthetic. Cannabis is an option that is naturally made. When someone gets a sunburn they use aloe. The difference is there is such a social stigmatism among individuals that this drug is detrimental and is a gateway drug. Children are taught in health class that cannabis will ruin lives, that it’s a gateway drug. If a trained medical doctor prescribes cannabis, a patient is of the legal age of 18 and it is regulated by the state and there is a regulated system in place just as there is with every other medication. These measures will be apparent in medical use in Ohio.

Residents in Florida have already voted no on an issue of medical cannabis previously, however, they’re in the works for the possible law Ohio is attempting. A new Gravis Marketing poll found that 64% of Floridians would be in favor of the revised legislation proposal. This proposal, like Ohio’s, would regulate cannabis in a way that state government can enable safe use as well as safe age requirements.

While Hamilton in Butler County is moving to do what they can to prevent this likely reality, business owners and celebrities are speaking out.  Many have stood behind and invested in ‘Responsible Ohio’, an interest group pushing for both medical and recreational use of marijuana in the state of Ohio. Individuals who have invested in Responsible Ohio include NBA Hall of Famer ***Oscar Robertson, NFL defensive end ***Frosty Rucker and CEO of DNP Investments ***William Cheney Pruett. Responsible Ohio is not the group that put the current bill in Columbus, however, they are very influential in the marijuana legislative community in Ohio.  The organization has arguably tried to monopolize the future Ohio economy for marijuana; however, they have done more than any interest group to educate Ohioans on the idea of legalization.

If the Ohio legislation passed, government would have the opportunity to tax the medication as is done with everything else. Passing the legislation would create numerous Ohio jobs and fuel the Ohio economy. While the federal government sits back and watches each state make changes, they are still the ones with the power. The federal government has laws against marijuana in general and the DEA can shut down any state approved operations. As legislation is yea or nay, every state has to move forward to make an impact at the national level. If each state approves measures to legalize marijuana for medical reasons, Congress will hopefully start to side with the general population.

Many Ohioans go to bed at night with various hardships. However, for people who suffer from conditions with no cure, there is hope: medical cannabis, a substance that will allow for Ohio residents with medical hardships to fight back alongside their doctors for a right to comfort through the pain. A cancer patient who is prescribed pain medicine with no effect can have a different approach. Until an individual has endured the disease themselves or has been around the disease, how can that individual make a negative judgment on the substance? The state of Ohio will have a chance for change in the buckeye state this November. While many individuals support the issue of medical marijuana and some oppose it, it is going to be in the hands of Ohio citizens.

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