WILMINGTON — A Medical Marijuana Task Force will work to review the issue of medical marijuana in the state of Ohio, Speaker of the Ohio House Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) and State Rep. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) announced at a press conference in Columbus Thursday.
“In response to increased interest by citizens across the state to further discuss the topic and the inclusion of Issue 3 on last November’s ballot, leaders in the Ohio House have taken action through the creation of a bipartisan task force” stated a press release from the Ohio House of Representatives. “In partnership with various business groups, medical experts, issue advocates, fellow state legislators and others, the task force will work to vet all sides of the issue.”
Also a member of the 16-member task force is Wilmington vascular surgeon Dr. Brian J. Santin, who was appointed to represent the Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) on the House task force. Santin operates Wilmington-based private practice Ohio Vein & Vascular.
OSMA stated it “supports the Ohio House of Representatives’ decision to appoint a task force that will spend a great portion of this year objectively researching and evaluating information that brings more clarity to the medicinal benefits of marijuana. … This effort falls in line with one of the association’s core values of supporting innovation in medicine that improves the health of patients.”
“This issue is something that has been discussed for some time, on both sides of the aisle, and last November, the people of Ohio resoundingly defeated a ballot proposal that would allow the recreational use of marijuana,” Rosenberger said. “However, the initiative sparked debate about whether or not medical marijuana should be prohibited for those who are suffering from a specific illness 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. Having this discussion is important for our state and I think this task force gives us an ideal setting to do that.”
Rep. Schuring was announced as chair of the task force. Other members include former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery and representatives ranging from the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association to the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio and the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association.
The task force will hold hearings regularly throughout the next few months to study the issue, gather information and hear testimony.