Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Wednesday offered support for legalizing medical marijuana in the state, so long as clinical trials and the federal government find it would benefit patients in need.
Speaking with reporters at the City Club of Cleveland, DeWine said he would favor marijuana delivered in pill form instead of via smoking if research currently under way shows positive results.
“I would be in favor if the clinical trials come back that way – which I think they probably will, for a limited number of people at least,” said DeWine, who added that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would also have to approve the use of such a pill.
The FDA has the authority to approve a pharmaceutical pill with limited uses. Medical marijuana advocates, though, want to lift the ban on using the whole plant.
While several states have approved using marijuana for medical – or, in four states, recreational – use, marijuana remains an illegal controlled substance under federal law.
Mike DeWine Supports Medical Marijuana
DeWine opposed Issue 3, the recently rejected statewide ballot issue that would have legalized recreational marijuana in Ohio. Ohio lawmakers are now cautiously looking at legalizing medical marijuana in the state.
The attorney general told a City Club audience that he believes marijuana will be back on the ballot. “There’s too much money involved,” he said.
DeWine devoted a large part of his City Club address to an “opportunity gap” faced by many at-risk Ohio children today because they lack education and job opportunities.
The gap is widening thanks to poverty, drugs, and dysfunctional families, among others, he said.
“Unless there’s some intervention, most of these kids are never going to realize the American Dream, and our state is not going to live up to all the potential that we have,” he said.
DeWine didn’t offer many proposals to address the issue, though he praised the work done by Cristo Rey college prep schools in Cleveland and elsewhere that focus on students in areas with limited educational opportunities.
Addressing the problem, DeWine said, might “be partially about government, but it’s really about all of us. We have a moral obligation to these kids, and I don’t think any of us should be satisfied until every child in this state has the opportunity to realize the American Dream.”
DeWine deflected a question about a possible Republican gubernatorial run in 2018, saying he felt it would be inappropriate to announce his plans before the 2016 general election.