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MHRS's Position on Marijuana Legalization

At a meeting of the Board of Directors on September 9th, 2015, the members passed a position on the current efforts to legalize marijuana in the state of Ohio. The position makes three distinct points:

Position One: The Board of Directors opposes the legalization and commercialization of marijuana for recreational purposes.

  • Many equate “legal” to “safe”. Research has shown that as the perception of harm among youth decreases, use increases.
  • There are several concerns with the current initiative (issue 3) in Ohio to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes:
    • The amendment legalizes recreational use and growth of marijuana by individuals 21 years of age and older and allows every adult (21 and older) in Ohio to grow, possess, and use marijuana
    • The amendment also allows for marijuana-infused products, such as brownies, cookies, and candy. Often, these products contain extremely high concentrations of THC, the active component in marijuana
    • The amendment allows for 1,100 marijuana stores across the state, about 50% more than the number of McDonald’s restaurants and 5 times more than the number of Starbucks across the state.
    • The amendment makes access by children inevitable. Home-cultivated marijuana plants must be kept behind locked doors. Because of the large amounts that can legally be possessed, marijuana will be as easily obtainable by teenagers as tobacco

Position Two: The Board of Directors believe that legalizing marijuana for medical use should not be decided by legislative or voter initiative. Marijuana should be subject to the same research, consideration and study as any other potential medicine, under the standards of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

  • Voter or legislative initiative does not meet the scientific standards for approval of medicine. Voters do not vote on new antibiotics or other potential medications
  • Voter and legislative passage of marijuana-as-medicine laws may actually inhibit good medicine because they shortcut the necessary step of researching the marijuana plant and the chemicals within that may have legitimate medical applications
  • Emotional testimony and personal opinion should not dictate medical treatment

Position Three: The Board of Directors supports controlled research into the benefits of cannabis-based medicines which follow the basic tenets of good medicine, and which would provide scientifically-valid support for the conditions it is proven to help; controlled strength and purity; appropriate dosage levels; and safe means of administration.

  • There is already a substantial body of research demonstrating the health and safety risks from the use of marijuana
  • More research on marijuana, including possible medical applications as well as research on associated health and impairment risks from the use of marijuana, is needed
  • Not only is there a need for more research on any possible medical benefits, but also on identifying the chemicals within marijuana associated with any benefits, appropriate dosage levels, and safe means of administration, should medical benefits exist

For more information on the position, please contact Brent Lawyer, MHRS Executive Director, at 513.695.1695.