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Ohio State Senators Stop First in Cleveland for Input on Medical Marijuana

Yuko and Burke

Two state senators are traveling the state to hear public opinion on medical marijuana, and they made their first stop in Cleveland over the weekend.

Republican State Sen. Dave Burke of Marysville and Democratic Sen. Kenny Yuko of Richmond Heights were at Cleveland State University for the first of several public forums. The session included everyone from doctors warning against marijuana use, to first-person testimonials about its effectiveness for cancer patients. Burke says that information is crucial in determining how the Statehouse should proceed on the issue.

“Firstly, I have to figure out where Ohio’s at on the issue. And then after that, I think we’ll link through implementation as the next logical choice if we get through the first step. But we still have two other cities to go all around Ohio. I can’t tell you if the response I hear in Cincinnati is the same response I heard in Cleveland.
“We are hearing smoke-able versus ingestible versus this, that and the other. And that conversation still needs to mature. It’s a blank slate. So, people can talk about; it there’s no definitions on anything at this stage."
Ohio voters rejected a measure last year that would have legalized medicinal and recreational marijuana, but Burke says the attempt did revive conversation about what was thought to be a dead subject. The Ohio House has created a medical marijuana task force, which met for the first time last week.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.