Medical marijuana in perspective

By Cliff Rosenberger

Last November, Ohioans resoundingly rejected a ballot measure that would have not only legalized marijuana in the state, but also paved the way for a marijuana monopoly to be carved out in the state’s constitution. Like the majority of Ohioans, I stood against the proposal and was pleased to see it defeated.

Meanwhile, what we have heard from Ohioans all over the state in recent months and years is a desire to have a conversation in regards to marijuana that could be used for medicinal purposes. I remain opposed to the recreational use of marijuana, but I do think this is a worthy discussion to have. I also think that, before any policies or ballot issues are brought before the public, it is important that as much knowledge and information as possible be available.

To help us accomplish that, last week I announced the creation of the Medical Marijuana Task Force, a panel consisting of legislators, medical experts, law enforcement officials and issue advocates that will be meeting several times over the next few months to hear from the public.

I have asked Rep. Kirk Schuring of Canton to chair the task force because I have always been impressed by his leadership abilities and his professionalism. Over the past couple months, Rep. Schuring has met with medical professionals to gain insight and information. I think his work has put us in a much better place when it comes to beginning hearings. Also on the panel is Rep. Steve Huffman, whose background as a physician brings an important perspective to the discussion.

The end result of the hearings is not known at this time, and, frankly, I think it is too soon to say what any desired outcome might be. More importantly, our goal is to bring to the forefront opinions, information and knowledge on both sides of the issue to help everyone across the state have more facts about the issue.

Again, the panel will not be discussing recreational marijuana use, but rather it will only focus on marijuana from a medical standpoint. I look forward to hearing from all sides of this issue, and as always I encourage people from the 91st House District to offer their perspectives and opinions.

Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.

By Cliff Rosenberger