Wednesday, Jul 18, 2018
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Toledo Hospital, Chamber of Commerce oppose legalizing sale of marijuana in Ohio

The presidents of ProMedica Toledo Hospital and the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce announced today their opposition to State Issue 3, which would give a small group of self-selected investors a monopoly over the cultivation and sale of marijuana in Ohio and make marijuana widely available across the state.

Arturo Polizzi, the hospital president, said Issue 3 would hurt the health and safety of Ohioans.

“We are especially concerned because the proposal allows for wide open sale of marijuana and marijuana-infused products like cookies, candies, and other edibles, which can easily fall into the hands of innocent children and others - possibly causing irreversible harm,” Mr. Polizzi said.

Mr. Polizzi made the announcement during a news conference at the hospital where he was also joined by Ohio Sen. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green), who opposes Issue 3.

Issue 3 asks voters next month to legalize marijuana in the state for recreational and medical purposes, and would create a commercial and regulatory infrastructure around the newly legal business.

There is already a broad coalition of medical professionals, hospital associations, and other health advocates vocalizing opposition to Issue 3 on the basis of health concerns. According to a study conducted by Nationwide Children’s Hospitals, marijuana legalization is closely correlated with accidental ingestion of marijuana, which can cause breathing problems, seizures, and coma.

Dr. Bruce Barnett, a pediatric pulmonologist and vice president of medical affairs at ProMedica Toledo Hospital, said evidence shows states that have legalized marijuana have more people going to emergency rooms because of ingestion of the drug.

“This is particularly true for small children,” Dr. Barnett said.

He said it would be difficult to prevent minors from using marijuana, similarly to efforts to keep children from obtaining alcohol and cigarettes illegally.

Wendy Gramza, the chamber of commerce leader, said it could have negative impact on businesses and the economy.

Ms. Gramza said it is increasingly difficult for employers to find employees who can pass drug tests.

Ian James, spokesman for ResponsibleOhio, the group trying to legalize marijuana in Ohio, could not be immediately reached for comment.

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