How To Help Legalize Marijuana In Ohio
Many Ohio Marijuana Card patients have expressed a desire to further advocate for medical marijuana, recreational marijuana and CBD.
Ohio's measures to ban the sales of CBD throughout the state, unless purchased from a state-licensed dispensary, have sparked much anger and frustration from proud Ohioans. There are also other advocates who pour their efforts into legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes.
And medical marijuana patients have been passionate about adding more medical conditions to Ohio's list of approved conditions for medical marijuana, including ailments like anxiety and autism spectrum disorder, which are common in other states with medical marijuana laws and may be added to Ohio's qualifying conditions list beginning in November 2019.
How To Add Qualifying Conditions To Ohio's Medical Marijuana Program?
Under Ohio law, the following have been identified as qualifying medical conditions: AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, Parkinson’s disease, positive status for HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourette’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and ulcerative colitis.
According to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program website, the State Medical Board of Ohio established Nov. 1, 2019 – Dec. 31, 2019 as the second submission period for petitions to add a qualifying medical condition to the Medical Marijuana Control Program. While five conditions were considered in the first submission period, including depression, insomnia and opioid abuse disorder, only anxiety disorders and autism spectrum disorder made it to the final stages of consideration but were ultimately rejected.
During the submission period, all petitions were filed electronically through the State’s website, medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov.
The petitions needed to include:
The name and contact information
Specific disease or condition requested to be added
Information from experts who specialize in the study of the disease or condition
Relevant medical or scientific evidence
Consideration of whether conventional medical therapies are insufficient to treat or alleviate the disease or condition
Evidence supporting the use of medical marijuana to treat or alleviate the disease or condition and other types of medical or scientific documentation
Letters of support provided by physicians
Rule 4731-32-05, Ohio Administrative Code provides details regarding how to file a petition to add a condition and the supporting documentation is available in Ohio Administrative Code 4731-32-05.
In this article, we will look at how marijuana advocates can go about effecting change in their government.
How Do I Find My Ohio Government Representatives?
Before you start, you are going to need to find all of your local representatives. Each city has local government officials, and though many support marijuana legalization, many also do not. It is helpful to know which government officials are on your side with this issue, and which are not.
Even if a rep is pro-marijuana, that does not mean they know about the recent CBD ruling, or even know much about Ohio's medical marijuana laws, and therefore -- once educated -- they could be an even greater voice for the cause. Some politicians may not support marijuana, be it medical or recreational, but do support industrial hemp as a farming issue, so don't rule out contacting someone who may be anti-pot.
The Cannabis Voter Project has compiled a comprehensive website that lets voters know exactly where their politicians stand on the issue of marijuana. This resource would be a good starting point for seeing where your locals reps stand. Click here to give that a look. You can also register to vote there, if you haven't already.
There is also this handy utility to search for your reps. This website combines all sections of government and allows you to search each branch individually, from federal government all the down to state and city.
Once you have phone numbers, emails and addresses for your reps in hand, it's time to reach out!
How To Call Ohio Politicians About Marijuana
If you are feeling ambitious, you can call your representative. Sometimes, you will get to speak with a secretary, intern or office manager. Sometimes, if you are really lucky, you will even get through to your local representative. Usually, however, you will be sent to voicemail. State your name, your address and the specific issue to which you are calling.
Always be mindful that your reps are (generally) decent people dedicated to serving the people, and they are very busy individuals. As such, be respectful and courteous, even if you vehemently disagree with their political stance. State why you feel CBD should be legal in Ohio, for example. Or tell a story about how CBD, THC or medical marijuana has helped you with your life, and why you feel Ohioans deserve pro-marijuana legislation.
You can also use this website to call your representatives quickly and easily, or call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 if you already know your representative's name.
How To Email Ohio Politicians About Marijuana
If email is your preferred method of communication, by all means, send your representatives an email! Once again, always try and be respectful, even if the political stance of the person you are emailing is not the same as your position. Express why you feel the way you do. Tell a story, a testimonial. Talk about why you feel Ohioans deserve CBD legality, recreational marijuana, or looser regulations for medical marijuana.
And remember, a person can explain his/her position with more conviction and understanding when they are not shouting or ALL CAPSING their views, or looking down on others for their opposing views. No one likes to be called stupid or dumb, so refrain from language that would disqualify your positive passion for the position.
Clearly state your name, address and a positive statement of support for pro-CBD or pro-legalization measures in your email. A little kindness goes a long way!
How To Send A Formal Letter to Ohio Politicians About Marijuana
You may also draft a formal letter and send it off to your representative. This method, quite naturally, is very slow moving as each piece of mail must be examined thoroughly to prevent harm.
This method can often count more to a representative because of the extra time and effort that goes into a formal letter.
Once again, draft your response with compassion rather than anger, and appeal to a politician's better instincts (survival in an election season, for example).
Tell a story about someone you know who has been positively effected by marijuana use. State why you feel pro-CBD or pro-cannabis legislation should be passed immediately.
Can I Help Legalize Marijuana in Ohio?
Yes! Absolutely, you can! The most difficult political battles throughout history were each hard fought with the blood, sweat, tears and undying passion of this country's great citizens, so speak out and let your voice be heard!
The more people who reach out to their local politicians, the higher probability a politician will make pro-marijuana legislation part of their political platform, so don't shy. Contact your state reps and local government today and become an important part of the marijuana movement.