Lawmakers discuss marijuana legalization on federal level

Lawmakers discuss marijuana legalization on federal level
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - As billions of dollars are being spent to attack the opioid crisis, we wonder whether medical marijuana could be used as an alternative to pills for treating chronic pain.

You'll remember earlier this month, Amanda Fay's special report about medical marijuana. She talked with researchers and "Jill," who is using cannabis for pain.

"My quality of life is so much better," "Jill" says.

She says it's all because she stopped taking pain pills and switched to cannabis.

"I can go about my day and get my house cleaned, take my dog out, go to work," "Jill" explained. "I hadn't worked for years. I couldn't. I couldn't hold a job."

While medical marijuana is now legal in Ohio, "Jill" is calling on lawmakers to make it accessible to everyone. She believes it could be a solution to the thousands of opioid-related deaths we're seeing every year.

Right now, marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 Drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which labels it as dangerous as drugs like cocaine. Congress has the ability to either de-schedule the drug or re-schedule marijuana.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur says legislation regarding medical marijuana has come up in the past, some of which she has supported.

"What is going on, on the street, is that marijuana is being laced with heroin and now we have this problem with fentanyl and carfentanyl, which are deadly," Kaptur explained. "And I think we have to be really careful."

Because of this, the Congresswoman says she'd only support efforts to de-schedule or re-schedule marijuana under certain circumstances, acknowledging constituents like "Jill" and her situation.

"What I have voted for, requires regulation and that is my position and I will maintain it," Kaptur said.

Senator Sherrod Brown says he supports the legalization of medical marijuana in Ohio, but isn't ready to make schedule changes on the federal level, just yet.

"States that have legalized marijuana, we'll see what happens in those states," Senator Brown said. "If that means less addiction to more powerful drugs, or if it's a gateway. And I don't think we don't know that yet."

Meanwhile, Ohio's medical marijuana goes into effect in September.

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