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Senate Minority Leader Speaks Out On How Democrats Will Likely Be Needed To Pass Medical Marijuana

OGT/The Ohio Channel
Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) talks with Karen Kasler for this week's "The State of Ohio".

A medical marijuana bill is set to come up for a vote in the Senate today. The timing is critical, since lawmakers are leaving for summer break and unlikely to return before the November election – and there are two groups working on ballot issues to legalize medical marijuana to put before voters this fall.  Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) talked about Senate President Keith Faber’s comments that half the Republican caucus is against the medical marijuana bill, which is backed by Republicans in the House.

"Yeah, I mean, there’s Democratic votes for the bill. This is something that a lot of our members believe will help people that have chronic pain, will help kids with epilepsy. There’s going to be some issues with the actual implementation, but that’s going to occur anyway. So I think that it’s a step in the right direction," Schiavoni said. "There will be, the majority of our caucus is for this bill and we will see how it turns out today. It’s going to be interesting.”

When asked if the Senate Democrats would want something - for instance, more consideration on certain issues from the Senate Republicans - Schiavoni said: “Of course there are, and we’re going to have discussions today about how we get there and developing relationships, moving forward. This day gets a little bit crazy. It’s a long day. People start getting a little glassy-eyed after a while. So you never know what’s going to happen, but we’re going to work hard today and get it done.”

The medical marijuana bill passed the House two weeks ago – it allows for doctors to recommend medical marijuana for a specific list of conditions and permits it in several different forms such as oils and patches. But doesn’t allow for it to be grown by patients or to be smoked – which at least one of the planned ballot issues would permit.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at