Last week, Ohio Representative Kenny Yuko (who has multiple sclerosis) introduced a bill to legalize medical marijuana in his state. Considering the fact that 73 percent of Ohio voters support medical marijuana legislation, you would think that it would have a good chance of passing, right? However, as seems to always be the case, conservative Republicans are unwilling to carry out the will of the people. "I'm just questioning if this is something the community wants," said Republican Tony Hocevar, who is challenging the bill’s sponsor in this year’s election. It’s amazing that 73 percent of Ohio voters can say that they support medical marijuana, yet there are still conservative idiots out there that try to spin the facts to make it sound like voters don’t want it.
Tony Hocevar isn’t the only Republican in Ohio who is trying to spin the facts. Senator Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) said, “The key to this is the federal government. If they get the hell out of this role and turn this over to the states to let them decide if they want to have medical marijuana, I think this would pass in the legislature. It would at least overcome my objection, I can tell you that.” WELL GUESS WHAT MR. SEITZ, THIS IS YOUR LUCKY DAY!
On October 19, 2009, the United States Department of Justice (you know, the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT) issued a memorandum to every federal attorney and magistrate telling them, “prosecution of individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or those caregivers in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law who provide such individuals with marijuana, is unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources.”
Since Ohio Republican Senator Bill Seitz seems to be slow, I will explain what this means to him; if sick patients want to medicate themselves with marijuana, and the State of Ohio is OK with it, then so is the federal government! The feds are not OK with profiting from medical marijuana, but they are CLEARLY OK with creating a state program that helps sick people. Maybe now that I cleared that up for Mr. Seitz, he will change his mind about medical marijuana, like he claimed in his quote.
Not every Ohio politician is lacking logical reasoning skills. When asked why Ohio politicians won’t step up, Representative Bog Hagan put it best when he said, "They just aren't brave enough to do it. There is a real lack of courage on this issue." Bob Hagan was the only Ohio politician to vote for medical marijuana when it was first proposed back in 2005. Rep. Hagan feels that politicians are worried about backlash during campaigns.
When Mr. Hagan previously ran for mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, his opponent told everyone that Mr. Hagan was for all out legalization of marijuana; not just for medical purposes. "It wasn't true, but it takes too long to explain and get out the truth," Hagan said. "I think lawmakers are fearful that they will get attacked and won't be able to get the explanation out." Luckily, the bill’s sponsor Kenny Yuko isn’t worried about such backlash at the polls. "I don't think I'm hurting my chances of re-election; I think I'm growing a fan club," he said. "I'm just standing up for what a majority of Ohioans believe in."
Republican political consultant Mark Weaver acknowledged that medical marijuana is becoming more acceptable in the eyes of the public. "I think it's becoming less unpopular. I think the aggregate of attitudes are trending more towards neutral." However, despite admitting that attitudes were changing, Mr. Weaver said something that highlights the disconnect between conservatives and the real world, “very few people care about marijuana laws," said Mark Weaver. If there are so ‘few people’ that care about marijuana laws, then why are there so many organizations and citizens fighting for reform?
Apparently, even the Governor of Ohio opposes medical marijuana, and for the worst reason possible; he supports big pharmaceutical companies. "The governor feels that the predominant opinion of the medical community is that there are existing medicines available that provide appropriate patient care," said Amanda Wurst, a spokeswoman for Governor Ted Strickland. "So based on that opinion and the current research, he feels this type of legislation doesn't seem necessary or warranted."