Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio and The Columbus Dispatch
The newly formed House Medicinal Marijuana Task Force met briefly on January 28 (Source: “Medical Marijuana Panelists Promise to Keep Open Minds, ” The Columbus Dispatch, January 29, 2016). The 15-member panel will start taking testimony from the public at its next hearing on Thursday, February 11.
Representative Kirk Schuring (R-Canton, OH) is heading the group and stressed that he is not approaching it with any preconceived notions about medical marijuana or what the committee will recommend in a report to be released likely at the end of March.
Two other lawmakers also sit on the panel. Representative Dan Ramos (D-Lorain, OH) said he is generally in favor of legalizing medical marijuana because it sounds like there can be some positive uses for it. Representative Stephen Huffman (R-Tipp City, OH), a practicing physician for 20 years, said he’s looking at evidence-based medicine, and there are a number of marijuana-derived products being used in Europe to treat seizures and multiple sclerosis and being tested at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
The first meeting essentially gave members a chance to introduce themselves and make brief comments. The group includes medical, business, pro-marijuana, and law enforcement representatives.
The Senate is conducting its own, separate look into the medical marijuana issue. Senators Dave Burke (R-Marysville, OH) and Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights, OH) are leading a listening tour that started January 30 in Cleveland, to be followed in February by meetings in Cincinnati and Toledo, OH.
University of Cincinnati
Kresge Auditorium, Medical Science Building
Thursday, February 4
University of Toledo
Scott Park Campus Auditorium
Thursday, February 11
Following the defeat of State Issue Three, a proposal which would have legalized marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes in Ohio, state lawmakers are not anxious to see another marijuana issue appear on the statewide ballot.
While the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians does not have a designated seat on either task force, it will have ample opportunity to testify and provide input to the group. OAFP Lobbyist David Paragas, JD, is monitoring the work of both groups. He predicts that we will have a better understanding of what is likely to be proposed later this spring.
The Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) recently conducted a virtual House of Delegates meeting to discuss revision of its marijuana policy. While the virtual meeting resulted in a vibrant discussion, the meeting lacked a quorum so no new policy was adopted. It is likely that the OSMA will take some official action on marijuana policy during its annual meeting Saturday-Sunday, April 2-3.
View the American Academy of Family Physicians policy on recreation and medicinal marijuana.