MIAMI COUNTY — With the Nov. 3 ballot addressing Issue 3 on marijuana legalization for Ohio coming in less than a month, the Tri-County Board of Mental Health formally expressed their disapproval of it passing.
The board released a statement on Sept. 18 expressing their official stance on the legalization of marijuana in Ohio. With a unanimous vote from 15 members with backgrounds in law enforcement, medical professions, or addiction, members do not agree with legalizing the drug.
The decision was made at a Sept. 16 meeting, where members expressed their perspectives. During the meeting, Brad Reed, director of community resource development, passed out baggies of gummy bears and cookies labeled as marijuana products as examples of what is being sold in Colorado (products did not actually contain marijuana in the demonstration).
“The reality is when you see the products being sold in Colorado, it looks just like stuff that you would buy in a store,” Executive Director Mark McDaniel said.
McDaniel stated the reason for their stance.
“Primary reason on taking the position is what we see in working with individuals in our community,” he said. “People medicate themselves through a number of drugs, with marijuana being one of them. It impedes on their ability for recovery … access to more of it is not good.”
The statement said, “Legalizing marijuana for medical use should not be decided by legislative or voter initiative. Marijuana should be subject to the same research, consideration, and study as any other potential medicine, under the standards of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”
The statement is very similar to one adopted by the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities, which was based on a position statement developed by the Drug Free Action Alliance (DFAA). Other organizations opposing its passing are Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and others.
Reed stated there are about 400 compounds in smoke marijuana and because it is not scientifically known what the effects of these compounds are and there is evidence supporting its ineffectiveness, the board does not support marijuana use.
“It’s not well-known what all of those compounds do; it’s not well-known what leads to addiction,” Reed said. “None of that has been established … that’s the opposition for putting it to popular vote.”
McDaniel in the past ran a substance abuse agency to offer help to poly substance abusers and said users abused a lot of different drugs, but marijuana was always one of the most abused.
“You can always pretty much bet that marijuana was on the list,” he said. “None (abusers) using marijuana as a medicine, they were abusing it. It’s something that impairs a person and that’s what’s wrong with it.”
“It’s not hypothetical any more, we have numbers,” Reed said. In states like Colorado and Washington that allow recreational use, Reed stated revenues have been far lower than expected for marijuana sales, criminal activities did not go down, and marijuana is on the rise in being a contributing factor to fatal car accidents.
“We have actual data, legalization of marijuana is a very bad idea,” he said.
Reach reporter Amy Barger at (937) 451-3340 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.