Marijuana and Cannabis News
|Ohio Patient Network|
The Ohio Alternative Treatment Act recently cleared initial hurdles to allow supporters to start getting more than 385,000 signatures required to place the issue on the November 2012 general election ballot, reports Evan Bevins at The Marietta Times.
The amendment would allow medical practitioners in a "bona fide practitioner-patient relationship" to recommend marijuana for qualifying medical conditions including cancer, AIDS, Parkinsson's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and other diseases, conditions or treatments that produce severe nausea, pain or muscle spasms.
The amendment would allow patients to possess up to 3.5 ounces of usable cannabis and 12 marijuana plants. A caregiver or safe access center could grow for a patient but that individual or location would have to be registered with the state. Caregivers would be able to possess 3.5 ounces of cannabis or 12 plants for each patient with whom they are connected.
Safe access centers -- or dispensaries, as we call them -- could have no more than 12 plants per patient or caregiver with whom they are registered. Local governments could control the locations of these centers through zoning.
|Tonya Davis, Ohio Patient Network: "They don't have the backbone to do this for us or the courage to do this for us, so we're going to take this to the people"|
The issue is backed by the Ohio Patient Network, a group of patients, activists, caregivers and medical professionals headed by Tonya Davis, 48, of Kettering. Davis said supporters have tried for almost a decade to get the Ohio General Assembly to allow marijuana for medicinal purposes.
"They don't have the backbone to do this for us or the courage to do this for us, so we're going to take this to the people," Davis said.
Davis has been diagnosed with pseudohypoparathyroidism, a genetic condition in which the body's calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D levels aren't controlled. Treatment has resulted in calcium deposits on her brain, leading to severe headaches with the risk of dementia and organ shutdown. That and other conditions lead to chronic pain, Davis said.
Davis said she uses marijuana with the approval of doctors to control her pain, and believes it can help protect her brain from further damage, as well.
"If there's a chance at it, I deserve that chance," Davis said.
Davis said she does not buy, sell or grow marijuana "because I don't want my doors kicked in." She said friends had provided it and using it has kept her from turning to OxyContin or other narcotic pain-relievers. She said Marinol, a prescription pill containing synthetic THC, a main active ingredient in marijuana, does not work for her.
Not surprisingly, Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks is opposed to the amendment.
"I don't think people want to legalize marijuana," Sheriff Mincks said. "I think you have a minority of people out there who already smoke it and want to legalize it."
But Davis pointed to a 2009 poll from the University of Cincinnati that found 73 percent of Ohioans either "strongly" or "somewhat" favored allow doctors to authorize medical marijuana, and said she's confident the measure would pass in a statewide vote.