COLUMBUS—State Senator Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) has introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 to urge Congress and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to reclassify marijuana, or cannabis, to a less restricted category. Reclassification would increase research into marijuana’s effects and ease the burden on legal medical marijuana businesses. 

“Marijuana’s Schedule I status is both inaccurate and damaging to the many Americans who benefit from medical cannabis,” said Senator Yuko. “The families of sick children who have used this product know how important it is. But researchers are afraid to study cannabis, and legal businesses are forced to remain cash-only, because the government still views it as dangerous.”

Marijuana – which is not known to have caused any overdose deaths – is currently a Schedule I drug alongside deadly substances such as heroin. Other highly addictive drugs like oxycodone and methamphetamine are listed as Schedule II, which is a lower classification and implies some potential medical use. 

According to the DEA, substances labeled as Schedule I – the highest classification – are thought to have “no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse." This classification makes it difficult for banks to accept money connected to the sale of these substances. It also drastically increases costs for legal marijuana businesses, because they are not permitted to deduct expenses related to Schedule I drugs.

Perhaps the most damaging effect is the restriction of research related to Schedule I substances. The lack of research may contribute to the FDA’s inability to examine the benefits of medical marijuana, despite significant anecdotal evidence. 

“If the federal government would acknowledge what a growing majority of states have already recognized, then more Americans could improve their quality of live through the use of safe, well-regulated medical cannabis,” said Senator Yuko. 

At least 29 states, including Ohio, and the District of Columbia, have currently legalized medical marijuana in some form.

Existing research – often conducted overseas – has shown cannabis and its derivatives to have a range of effects that may be therapeutically useful. Cannabis has been used successfully in the treatment of epilepsy, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer and the side effects of cancer medication, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, symptoms of AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS, among many other conditions.

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