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Ohio’s Medical Legalization: 5 Years in PT 1

September 22, 2021

On June 8th, 2016, medical marijuana was legalized in the state of Ohio. Though the bill was passed, the medical implementation is a multi-year process, beginning 90 days after the bills signing. Throughout this process, and before legalization, naysayers remained steadfastly against the cause due to the perceived issues that would occur. From the days of out of state marijuana to state endorsed dispensaries, none of these fears came to fruition. However, some of these old fears are being pushed once more, despite its lack of support.

One major concern that resounded with the opposition is the idea of legalization being a gateway to underage use. What’s been observed, both in the state of Ohio and in fully legalized states, is the inverse of the expected. In the years following legalization, teen marijuana use continued to fall at growing rates annually. Even as dispensaries finally began to treat chronic pain in early 2019, this rate remained steadfastly on the downturn. The conclusion reached by Ohio’s populus remains consistent with other states, finalizing the fear of underage use on a practical level.

Secondly, the premise of medical marijuana cards and their use in a dispensary contributes to addiction for qualified individuals. Though adult use of marijuana has increased, predictably, with the entrance of dispensaries, the rate of dependency to marijuana observed on a community health level remains standard. In fact, legal states like Washington and Colorado show a reduced rate of other illicit drugs in areas with medical use accessibility. With adult use in the state of Ohio being under a rigid approval system followed by increasing levels of security at dispensaries, the rate of undue dependency wont change for the worse. 

Third, and one of the most popular complaints of further support of medical miarjuana, is the premise of medical users driving while intoxicated. This issue is a simple flat rate fallacy; though the last 5 years have had more THC-intoxicated driver arrests, the reason remains two-fold and beneficial. First, the legalization of medical marijuana allowed research to develop on ways to check for THC-intoxicated drivers. With the former standard procedure of a roadside sobriety test being tailored to test for alcohol intoxicated drivers, many mildly THC-intoxicated drivers would pass freely. With the development of things like saliva test strips carried by multiple State’s police forces, the small increase of arrests is due to technological efficiency as opposed to more people driving intoxicated.

Beyond the fears that remain unfounded, medical marijuana has shown to have multiple unexpected benefits to Ohioans.

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