Get over the pot hysteria

Ohio officials have said they will not be able to meet the Sept. 8 deadline set to make medical marijuana available to state residents who have been approved to legally purchase and use it.

Perhaps the state should take advantage of the extra time to launch a public education campaign to make people more aware of the differences between recreational and medicinal marijuana.

Judging from the hysterical responses we heard from opponents when it was announced this week that a dispensary had been approved for East Liverpool, people are still confusing the two.

These same people would not object to a new pharmacy locating in their town, so why the vehement opposition to a medicinal marijuana dispensary?

We believe it’s because they simply don’t understand how medical marijuana differs from pot which is smoked or ingested to achieve a high.

The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program will allow people with certain medical conditions, upon the recommendation of an Ohio-licensed physician certified by the State Medical Board, to purchase and use medical marijuana. This marijuana will not be smoked and it will not get you high.

According to the Ohio Revised Code, it can be in oil, tincture, capsule or edible form for oral administration; metered oil or solid preparation for vaporization; patches for transdermal administration or lotions, creams or ointments for topical administration; and plant material for administration with the use of vaporizing devices.

The law also places the following limitations on vaporizing devices used to administer medical marijuana: No vaporizing device, the design of which places medical marijuana in direct contact with the device’s heating element, may be used to vaporize the resin contained within, or an extract of medical marijuana. Vaporizing devices must also not be capable of being heated to temperatures at which medical marijuana plant material will burn.

Medical marijuana will only be legal for use by people who have been diagnosed with one of 20 afflictions. They will also be required to have a prescription from a doctor who has been certified by the state to recommend medical marijuana.

Of course there will always be ignorant people who will refuse to accept this new pharmaceutical no matter what they are told, but the more opened-minded opponents may be willing to give it a chance, especially if they, or someone they care about, suffers from one of the afflictions. Given the problems caused by opioid addiction in our area, maybe people should be more willing to give this new drug a chance.

Along with a public relations campaign, perhaps a name change should also be considered to dispel the stigma associated with recreational pot, if medical marijuana is ever going to be accepted.