Pubdate: Thu, 30 May 2013
Source: Review, The (Alliance, OH)
Copyright: 2013 Alliance Publishing Co, LLC.
Author: Marc Kovac, Review Capital Bureau
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal - Ohio)
Note: The press conference with speakers from the Ohio Rights Group 
is on line at


COLUMBUS -- A state lawmaker isn't holding his breath in anticipation 
of action by the Republican-controlled Ohio House on his proposal to 
legalize marijuana use for medical purposes.

Rep. Bob Hagan, D-Youngstown, doesn't think his HB 153 won't move 
much beyond the sponsor testimony he offered before the chamber's 
health committee Wednesday. It's the latest attempt to legalize 
medical marijuana over recent general assemblies, none of which have 
gained support for passage.

So Hagan is urging support for a constitutional amendment on the issue.

"The only process left is the citizens' initiative," he said. "The 
people now have to speak up."

Hagan joined representatives of the Ohio Rights Group Wednesday for a 
Statehouse press conference touting the benefits of marijuana for 
treatment of cancer, Crohn's disease and other debilitating medical conditions.

Both Hagan's legislation and the Ohio Rights Group's proposed 
constitutional amendment would legalize marijuana for medical uses, 
with limits in place to prevent casual consumption.

"We, in this piece of legislation and in this initiative, want to 
make sure that it takes care of those individuals that are in pain, 
that are in chronic pain, and that we do everything we can to make 
sure that's where it goes," Hagan said.

The Ohio Rights Group received approvals from the attorney general 
and state ballot board to circulate petitions to place the issue 
before voters. Supporters will have to gain more than 380,000 valid 
signatures from registered voters to qualify.

It's the third petition attempt for the group, the last of which 
netted about 5,000 signatures before members abandoned the effort due 
to lack of interest in a presidential election year and a less 
technologically savvy campaign.

"We have 13 months to collect the 385,000 signatures in order to put 
it on the ballot for 2014," said John Pardee, the group's president. 
"We will get that done. ... This is a safe alternative that's 
nontoxic that people can use for a lifetime and not have ill effects."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom