Advocates speak out for marijuana legalization in Ohio

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Medical marijuana use is legal in 18 states, but not in Ohio or Pennsylvania.

However, State Rep.  Bob Hagan, D-Youngstown, recently introduced a bill aiming to change that. And on Thursday, some of those for the measure spoke out during a forum in Youngstown.

Jane Hash has a connective tissue disorder, causing her a variety of health problems that she said could be alleviated with cannabis, or medical marijuana.

“There are several patients who have connective tissue disorders that are seeing amazing results in managing their conditions by juicing fresh, raw cannabis,” said Hash.

Jane joined other advocates Thursday for a forum organized by the Ohio Rights Group. The non-profit is pushing for the Cannabis Rights Amendment to get on the ballot next November.

“The people that we’re helping are those that have tried those pain pills, those pain medications that just did not work,” Hagan said.

Although no one opposing the bill was able to be reached for comment, supporters answered burning questions such as how the law would be regulated.

“We have done everything we could to make sure it stays out of the hands of children, to make sure it goes to those that are chronically in pain and to those people that absolutely need it,” explained Hagan.

Hash weighed in on the topic regarding addiction and abuse.

“If you take a medication because you are sick and it works, and you continue to take it because as long as you take it you’re not sick, are you addicted?” said Hash.

Keynote speaker Mimi Peleg addressed the concern that legalizing it would increase illegal use.

“Cannabis needs to be seriously considered for its medical value, it needs to be distributed responsibly and safely and monitored,” said Peleg.

No matter the argument, patients who said it would benefit them want others to give it a chance.

“We’re trying to focus on education and move past the stigma of hippie, stoner, potheads,” said Hash.

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