Organizers are currently circulating a petition around Ohio in hopes of placing an issue on the November ballot to legalize marijuana for medical use.
The ‘Alternative Treatment Amendment’ was submitted in July 2011 to the Ohio Attorney General’s office to place a new amendment on the November 2012 ballot.
As dictated in the petition, this reform would call for the legal use of marijuana to alleviate symptoms of “severe nausea, chronic pain and muscle spasms” caused by diseases such as HIV-AIDS and Parkinson’s. The language of the initiative also says those who suffer from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder ( PTSD ) may also qualify.
Author of the amendment Ryan Maitland said the petition board is withholding the number of signatures the amendment has collected to date. State law requires at least 385,245 signatures to get an issue on the ballot.
After revising and resubmitting the initiative, the petition for an amendment was certified by the Attorney General’s office in October 2011. However, according to Maitland, even more revisions have been made since the Attorney General’s approval.
“It’s a nonpartisan legal job,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “Rejecting and certifying petitions is a matter of language. We make sure that language [of the amendment] is accurate and correct.”
“We are looking to put forth a very clear and unambiguous law,” Maitland said. “The revisions will address any ambiguity [within] the legal and privacy clauses.”
One of the major revisions will require law enforcement to obtain a warrant from a judge before investigating suspected illegal activity.
“This protects both patient and law enforcement,” Maitland said. “Additionally, clinical research trials require specific federal approval.”
The amendment is not without regulations for patients and caregivers. There would be a 3.5 oz. limit on how much marijuana can be given to the patient within a 21-day period. In addition, both patient and caregiver must be registered within an Internet database that can be accessed by law enforcement. They must also present a registered card at the Safe Access Center, according to Maitland.
“If it’s regulated, it would make it a lot harder for people under 18 to buy it,” Miami University senior Josh Tejkl said. “People who have cancer or other … diseases should be able to use marijuana for relief.”
The prospect of legalizing marijuana for medical use raises concerns for voters.
“Some people who have a card [to obtain medical marijuana] don’t need it,” junior Danielle Browske said. “They just want to get high.”
The American Medical Association published a document entitled ‘Report 3 of the Council on Science and Public Health ( I-09 ), Use of Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes,’ which specified that the short-term use of marijuana is effective in alleviating “aversive” physiological symptoms. The report included “results of short term controlled trials show smoking cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and calorie intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.”
One of the added revisions would allow medical testing on humans to determine the value and consequences of using marijuana for medical purposes.