Medical Marijuana Measure Possible On November Ballot

By
Alyssa Hansen

Dateline
Updated Mon, Apr 23, 2012 3:27 pm

The November election may be months away, but Ohioans are already preparing to cast their votes on many issues -- including whether to legalize a form of medical treatment that's used in more than a dozen states and Washington D.C.    

"I couldn't sleep.  I couldn't stand.  I couldn't sit.  There's no position you can place yourself in where you're comfortable," said Cynthia Wynia, who has used marijuana for pain management.
 
Wynia says her pain as a result of spine problems was unbearable.      
 
After undergoing three rounds of physical therapy, several Cortizone injections, and surgery, nothing seemed to be working.      
 
Then, she was given a different kind of treatment.    
 
"A friend of mine offered me some marijuana," said Wynia. The results, she says, were unlike anything she had ever tried. 
 
"It took me a while to realize it.  I was getting up and down.  I was going up stairs.  I was moving around -- dancing.  It didn't hurt.  I said 'I do not hurt'," said Wynia.
 
She only used the drug once, but was pain-free for the first time in years and feels marijuana should be legalized for medical reasons. Not everyone agrees.      
 
"It's an ever-changing drug, and it's not really a benign drug.  It's a drug that we need to look at very carefully that causes a lot of harm to our society," said Marcie Seidel, executive director of Drug-Free Action Alliance.
 
Seidel says the uncertainty of marijuana's side effects make it difficult to be used as legitimate medicine.      
 
"I don't know of any other drug in our repertoire of medications where you take it and you know only what it might do, but you have no idea what the side effects are," said Seidel.
 
She's says alarmed by marijuana's integration into mainstream society. "In a prevention world, we know that whenever you take away the perception that something is harmful, use will go up."     
 
For Wynia, the benefits of using marijuana for those suffering from extreme pain far outweigh any negatives.      
 
"It has its uses, it has its misuses, just like any other substance.  If this can relieve pain from people who cannot find relief in any other way, there is no reason not to legalize it for medical use," said Wynia.
 
Signatures are still being gathered to put medical marijuana on the Ohio ballot.    
 
The deadline is July 4.        
 
Sixteen states currently classify marijuana as legal for medical treatment.  
 
Alyssa Hansen is a fellow in Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse Bureau. Visit 10TV.com
 
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