Ohio Lawmakers Debate Merits Of Legalizing Medicinal Marijuana

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UPDATED: Tuesday January 14, 2014 6:31 PM

Lawmakers returned to the statehouse Tuesday to consider possible legislation to legalize medical marijuana.

Supporter Cindy Wynia says she has suffered for years with spinal issues.  After physical therapy, prescription drugs - even Cortisone shots - she says medical marijuana has made the most difference.

"I can't explain the feeling of relief I get from not feeling any pain," said Wynia.  "When I use medical marijuana I can use it at home whenever I wish.  It's somewhat costly but not prohibitively costly like a Cortisone shot.  And I can use it when I need it."

20 states have now legalized medical marijuana and more states are debating the issue.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says America's favorite sport - professional football - could soon lift a ban if medical marijuana has already been legalized in a player's state.

Marcie Seidel from the Ohio Drug Free Action Alliance doesn't deny that momentum favors marijuana supporters.

"The good news is people are starting to pay attention to this," said Seidel.  "The question many people are asking is whether are our children going to be better off?  Are we going to be safer?  Is our economy and our work force going to be better?  I'm not seeing anything like that happening with marijuana."

Both Wynia and Seidel agree the future of medicinal marijuana in Ohio is likely not to be settled by lawmakers, but by a statewide vote.

"More people are coming to accept it is beneficial and it doesn't have the dark side," said Wynia.

A new study from Colorado shows oil from marijuana could help children with epilepsy.

Seidel says that could be true, but experts should approve the dosage.

"There's no sense in going to a back ally and to get something from someone who is not a medical or scientific professional," said Seidel.

Another issue for Ohio politicians is the amount of tax revenue that may be generated by pot.

Colorado marijuana dispensaries made huge sales - over $5 million- in the first week of legal marijuana.

The state projects nearly $600 million in combined wholesale and retail marijuana sales annually.

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