Pubdate: Fri, 15 Jan 2016
Source: Dayton Daily News (OH)
Copyright: 2016 Dayton Daily News
Author: Laura A. Bischoff


Ohio House GOP Announces 14-Member Marijuana Task Force.

COLUMBUS - Doctors, lawmakers, business owners, cops and advocates 
for legal pot will serve together on a medical marijuana task force 
and report back to the Ohio House later this year.

House Republicans announced the 14-member task force on Thursday at 
the Ohio Statehouse. State Rep. J. Kirk Schuring, R-Canton, will 
serve as chairman of the effort. Included on the panel are attorney 
Chris Stock and businessman Jimmy Gould, who were major players in 
the failed Issue 3 campaign last year.

"The goal of this task force is to have a methodical and holistic 
approach to the conversation, which means including members on both 
sides of the aisle, as well as medical experts, community advocacy 
groups and law enforcement officials," said House Speaker Cliff 
Rosenberger, R-Clarksville. "Having this discussion is important for 
our state, and I think this task force gives us an ideal setting to do that."

In November, Ohioans voted against Issue 3, a proposed constitutional 
amendment that would have legalized medical and recreational 
marijuana and given exclusive growing rights to 10 investor groups 
that bankrolled the issue campaign.

Nonetheless, public opinion polling shows widespread support for 
medical marijuana. In October, Quinnipiac University reported that 90 
percent of Ohio voters support medical marijuana use. Ohio leaders 
agreed to take a look at the issue, given the huge public support it has.

But the announcement Thursday signaled that Ohio lawmakers aren't 
about to rush into an unregulated system where people can get weed to 
treat a long list of ailments.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not recognized the 
marijuana plant as medicine and marijuana use still violates federal 
law. Nonetheless, 23 states have comprehensive legal medical pot 
programs while 17 states have allowed limited use of low THC, high 
cannabidiol products for medical reasons, according to the National 
Conference of State Legislatures.

THC - delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol - is marijuana's main 
mind-altering ingredient while cannabinoids are chemical components 
of the cannabis plant. Some cannabinoids are available in approved 
drugs for the treatment of cancer-related side effects and some are 
used to treat certain conditions such as childhood epilepsy, 
according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National 
Cancer Institute.

Clinical trials are underway at Nationwide Children's Hospital in 
Columbus to test the use of CBD - a cannabinoid from the plant - to 
see if it would be beneficial treatment for some kids with rare forms 
of epilepsy that are difficult to control with other medications.

In October, Dr. Anup Patel, a pediatric epileptologist, said on the 
Nationwide Children's website: "There is nothing natural about 
marijuana. ... It is broken down in a person's liver, similar to many 
other medications. It has interactions with other medications and is 
still not fully understood. If further studies show that CBD is safe 
and effective, it will be sent to the FDA for official approval. If 
the FDA approves this medication, it will be available in the form of 
a prescription and no laws will need to be changed."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom