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Health and Medicine

Opponents speak against Ohio medical marijuana ballot efforts
Former federal official says even legal marijuana has consequences

Jo Ingles
A medical marijuana issue has not made it to the ballot yet, but opponents are already fighting it.
Courtesy of United States Fish and Wildlife Service
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Ohioans could be voting next year on whether to allow medical marijuana use in the Buckeye State if a group of activists are able to get the issue on the ballot. A former federal official is trying to stop that effort from being successful.


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The former deputy director of the office of National Drug Control policy says there’s really no such thing as medical marijuana.

"We don’t have medical Marlboros and we don’t have medical scotch," Dr. Andrea Barthwell says.

And Barthwell says Ohio should not have medical marijuana, either. She says the drug is dangerous and addictive for those who use it. She says there are other drugs that can now be prescribed that work far better for cancer patients and others who are now getting medical marijuana in other states where it has been legalized. 

Keeping kids safe...
Barthwell says Ohio’s approval of a proposed medical marijuana ballot issue would make life worse for Ohio’s communities and children too. She says just look at states that allow medical marijuana.

"In these states, there are no laws that prohibit someone under 21 from getting this or require parental permission so kids under 21 can get this," Barthwell says. "One or two high school seniors in a large suburban high school can supply that school on a weekly basis with enough marijuana for everyone in that school to be high everyday."

But John Pardee with the Ohio Rights Group, one of the groups that wants to bring medical marijuana to Ohio, says that would not change anything.

"Try to find one teenager who can’t find marijuana right now," Pardee says. "You can’t find it. Anybody who wants recreational marijuana can find it today."

... or denying a safe alternative?
Pardee says there are Ohioans who suffer from diseases who need marijuana. He says, contrary to what Barthwell says, cannabis is one of the safest substances that can be used and there are studies to back up his claim.

"There has been zero fatalities by using cannabis medications," Pardee says. "So if she’s talking about it being dangerous, compared to what? Compared to oxycontin that’s killed thousands of people? Compared to Vicodin that’s killed thousands of people? I’m just at a loss because if she’s supposed to be a doctor, she should be using scientific methods and protocols instead of hyperbole."

Pardee says the fact is that taking the criminal element out of the equation will provide a safe alternative to pain killers for many Ohioans who are suffering from serious diseases.

"This opens the doors to cancer and Parkinson's patients who need high quality, regulated therapeutic cannabis that is tailored to their needs," Pardee says. "They don’t have that right now."

But Barthwell says making marijuana available for use with a prescription will only make the drug problem worse in Ohio, in the country and in the world.

"Don’t fool yourself and believe that this mature industry that distributes drugs illicitly in this country is going to go away just because you can buy marinol at the local Clark gas station," Barthwell says. "It will operate in secrecy at great profit and continue to sustain itself and bring down every Democratic process in every country from Canada to the farthest reaches of South America in this hemisphere."

But right now, activists are reaching for pens to get supporters of the idea to sign petitions to put the issue on the ballot.  Backers will need to collect more than 385,000 valid signatures in half of Ohio’s counties by early July of next year in order to put the issue on the November 2014 ballot.

Listener Comments:

Barthwell is a lying Prohibitionist Parasite and here is the proof;
In 1988, DEA Administrative Judge Francis Young wrote in his ruling"Marijuana, in its natural form, is one ofthe safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By anymeasure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a
supervised routine of medical care."

FACT Marijuana is less addictive and less harmful than Caffeine, let alone Alcohol and Tobacco; (3 Scientific Studies)
BTW, Dr Henningfield is a former NIDA Staffer;.
Addictiveness of Marijuana -

Posted by: Mike Parent (NH) on August 1, 2013 2:08AM
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