OU Students, Athenians Debated Marijuana Legalization At Baker Center

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The Campus Involvement Center held the "Amazing Blazing Marijuana Debate" Tuesday night.

The six member panel included John Pardee and Mary Jane Bordan from the Ohio Rights Group, Dr. Joe Gay, Executive Director of Health Recovery Services, Inc., Reggie Robinson, Program Manager of Health Recovery Services, Inc., and Ohio University students Shelby Delp and Will Klatt.

These panelists fielded questions bases on professional opinion and study-based facts.

Topics included financial issues concerning medical marijuana, introducing hemp to Ohio’s agriculture, and most importantly, health and safety.

Gay, of the opposing side, said that while marijuana may be less addicting than other therapeutic drugs, it does not mean that it is safe. He also said that the distribution system is flawed and could potentially harm youth.

Pardee, of the pro-pot side, argued for quality regulation, safe distribution, and democratically voting for medical marijuana.

“Less addictive than coffee less addictive than cigarettes and alcohol so it is actually one of the least addictive compounds, and we know for a fact that it has medicinal value so it has no business being a schedule-one drug,” said Pardee. Other schedule-one drugs include heroin, ecstasy, and peyote.  

Robinson, of the opposing side, said that although he’s not necessarily saying “no” to the notion of medical marijuana, he is not convinced on whether or not there is enough evidence and research to make it a safe and legal practice within the United States.

“I think it's wrong-minded to put it on the ballot for ordinary citizens like me, I'm not a researcher. It's wrong-minded to put it on the ballot for me to vote on. Did we vote on oxycotin, did we vote on– that's not the way we approve medicines in the United States,” Robinson said. He also stated that while democratic voting is a right, it I should be left to the FDA to decide to legalize marijuana.

Whether or not the issue of medical marijuana will be put on this year's November ballot is still in question.