Proponents of medical marijuana warn Ohio’s program in dire need of overhaulPosted by On

Ohio senators are trying once more to overhaul the state’s medical marijuana system. That effort stalled out last session after passing the Senate. Meanwhile, the bid to place adult, recreational use on the ballot has only gained steam in the interim.

Tuesday, the Ohio Senate’s general government committee heard proponent testimony.

A dying program

Speakers raised numerous concerns about Ohio’s existing medical marijuana program. Yousef Zafer brought broad scope of experience. He’s a marijuana patient himself, studying to be a pediatric neurosurgeon at Ohio State University. Zafer has also worked as a cannabis lab manager.

He told the committee the current system lacks competition and doesn’t include enough qualifying conditions. He argued the proposed overhaul makes strides on both issues.

“I know a lot of patients who venture up to Michigan to purchase their medical products because they’re cheaper and they’re usually higher quality, which is illegal,” Zafer said. “We need to keep Ohio patients in Ohio by offering those high quality products at a competitive price.”

Ted Bibart painted a stark picture of the current state of Ohio’s system.

“This program is dying. The numbers tell us this,” he said. “From last month’s numbers to this month’s numbers, we’ve lost 3% of the patient population. Over 4,000 patients have no longer participated in this program than did the month prior.”

He warned that with the medical program in…

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