Medical marijuana: Coming to Ohio?

Tyler Goddard

Read about the effects of medical marijuana here.

As the list of states who have legalized medical marijuana grows, Ohio may soon follow in line.

Members of the Ohio Medical Cannabis Act of 2012, a group supporting an amendment to the constitution to allow the use of medical marijuana, along with Students for a Sensible Drug Policy sponsored a seminar by Theresa Daniello, director of the OMCA, March 6.

Chris Wallis, a Kent State alumnus who founded Students for a Sensible Drug Policy in 2008, is currently volunteering for the OMCA and has collected an estimated 550 valid signatures for the campaign.

“This is no longer a fringe issue,” Wallis said. “2012 is a huge year for cannabis, medical or legalization, and in our community it happens to be medical so we are trying to reach out to people who are going to be most effected by this policy change.”

Daniello held a question-and-answer session with students at Kent State and members of the community in order to spread awareness and explain where the ballot initiative process stands.


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In order to get the amendment on the ballot in November, the OMCA must collect 385,000 valid petition signatures by the first week of July. A valid signature is defined as a person who is a registered voter.

“We aren’t trying to reach to the college kids, but we are trying to reach out to senior citizens, which are people who may be actually sick enough to need medical cannabis,” Wallis said.

Daniello wanted to make it clear that Ohio is moving to legalize the medical use of marijuana, not full legalization to anyone.

The amendment would protect eligible patients from discrimination and give them access to marijuana for medical purposes.

Daniello said there are an estimated 250,000 Ohio patients who could benefit from the use of medical marijuana.

“This is a non-lethal medication that we need to study,” Daniello said. “We have to get our young doctors and researchers studying it as well.”

Senior English major Beth Vild is taking this semester off in order to work on different volunteer efforts related to the OMCA campaign.

Vild said she wants to see medical cannabis legalized because of the benefits it can have on patients in need.

Medical marijuana has shown to be effective for patients suffering from a wide variety of medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS and even back pain.

“The fact that we don’t look to more natural alternatives to our medicine just breaks my heart,” Vild said.

Once the necessary requirements are met for getting the amendment on the ballot, Ohio could become the 17th state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.

“We are a great agricultural state, and we are a great medical state,” Daniello said. “This plant can do a lot of benefit to a lot of people, and it’s time that our doctors are looking at that.”

Contact Tyler Goddard at [email protected].