WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Trumbull County Commissioners say for now, county employees will not be allowed to use medical marijuana.
The state law legalizing it goes into effect Thursday, but commissioners voted in favor of a policy that would ban county employees from using it, even if they have a prescription.
Wednesday, County Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa spoke to a small crowd before he voted to approve a revised drug and alcohol policy, saying the decision was difficult for him.
“This is a difficult decision because myself, like 85, roughly 85 percent of Ohioans, believe in legalized medical marijuana,” he said.
Current Trumbull County policy already prohibits the use of marijuana, and the county has mandatory drug testing for employees. The revision addresses the state’s new medical marijuana law.
“If we were to change these policies now, we could potentially open ourselves to liability and liability that this county just cannot incur at this time,” Cantalamessa said.
Commissioners say this is just temporary. They’re waiting until all of the details are hashed out by the legislature, including the law’s structure on the drug’s use in the workplace, and they said they will revisit this issue.
Bill Turner, a Trumbull County employee, said he agrees with the decision of commissioners.
“As more evidence regarding legalized marijuana becomes available, then you change your rules, but until that point, then you stay the course,” he said.
State Rep. Mike O’Brien also agrees with the commissioners’ decision. He said even though the law goes into effect Thursday, marijuana is illegal to use and obtain in the state because there are no doctors licensed to prescribe it in Ohio and it’s still a crime to bring it over state lines.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to show Ohio’s medical marijuana law goes into effect Thursday, not Friday.