Ohio is now one of 26 states to legalize medical marijuana, and a committee appointed by the governor will begin drafting implementation rules this month. Members say one priority is to ensure the state protects the community and the patients who will ultimately use the marijuana products.
“We don’t want this to turn into another Big Tobacco, and we don’t want this to be a ‘green rush,’ where people are looking to make money,” says Tony Coder, who sits on the committee and is assistant director of Ohio’s Drug Free Action Alliance, a prevention agency. “We have to remember this is medical marijuana.”
While industry advocates warn of the downhill slide toward legalizing harder-to-regulate recreational marijuana, Coder says there is evidence in the literature that medicinal properties in the cannabis plant are helpful in treating seizures and cancer pain, for example, so the medical community might consider giving marijuana a second look.