New coming out of Ohio has some of the marijuana advocates up in arms about the appointment of two seats on the medical marijuana advisory board. The two members were staunchly against medical marijuana, but Republican Governor John Kasich, put them on the board. Do you think that having representatives that are against medical marijuana are good to have on the board, as a matter of legislating fairly, or were they placed on the board to slow growth in Ohio?
COLUMBUS (AP) – The state’s new medical marijuana advisory committee will include two members of a group that fought legalization, raising concerns among advocates about whether the panel will be stacked against them.
The 14-member panel’s roster was set with final appointments this week. Its first meeting must be held within a month.
Republican House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger named Marcie Seidel, executive director of the Drug Free Action Alliance, as one of his two appointees on Thursday. The assistant director at the alliance, Tony Coder, was named to the committee by Republican Gov. John Kasich. Seidel and Coder are designated to represent people involved in mental health treatment and alcohol- and drug-addiction treatment, respectively.
Rosenberger said the alliance has in-depth knowledge of medical marijuana laws and Seidel will bring “broad understanding” to the post.
Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, an offshoot of the group that pushed legalization of medical marijuana, said these positions weren’t meant for opponents.
“Her only qualifications are that she really doesn’t like medical marijuana,” said Aaron Marshall, the group’s spokesman. “We were hopeful that all the appointments would be made in good faith.”
Coder said the alliance’s primary concern as Ohio establishes its new medical marijuana program is patients.
“We want to ensure that patients whose doctors recommend marijuana have access to a safe product for their condition,” he said in an email. “At the same time, we want to reiterate that this is a medical marijuana bill, and we want Ohio’s program to be about patient health and safety rather than creating another big tobacco or another industry that is more concerned about profit than health.”
He said he has spent 13 years and Seidel has spent 18 years in substance abuse prevention, which includes promotion of mental health wellness. He said they both intend to respect that medical marijuana is now law in Ohio.