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Ohioans with autism might be able to get medical marijuana for that condition soon

 Customers await service outside of a medical marijuana dispensary in Columbus in April of 2019.
Daniel Konik
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Customers await service outside of a medical marijuana dispensary in Columbus in April of 2019.

The Ohio House has passed a plan to add autism to the list of qualifying conditions.

Ohioans who suffer from autism are currently not allowed to use medical marijuana for that condition. However, the Ohio House passed a bill that could change that.

By a margin of 73 to 13, House members passed a bipartisan bill that adds autism to the list of 25 conditions for which medical marijuana can be used. Democratic Rep. Juanita Brent (D-) says she has seen the effects of it in the autistic child whose family she has been working with as this legislation was crafted.

“When he started taking cannabis because he also has another qualifying condition, he was able to ease his seizures, ease his anxiety and now he’s able to talk, which is huge for a child with autism,” Brent says.

MED POT STORE PRODUCTS 3
Daniel Konik
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Some items available at medical marijuana dispensary in Columbus.

Republican Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) says many Ohioans with this condition are currently treating it with prescription drugs that are expensive, can have serious side effects, or lead to addiction. He says Ohio parents should be able to try medical marijuana for their children's autism.

"How is that any more injurious than addicting the patients to Ritalin or other expensive prescription drugs that are now used for this purpose?" Seitz asks.

Seitz says there is some emerging research that shows medical marijuana works. And while he would like to see more research on it, he notes federal law prohibits doing extensive research on using marijuana as a medical treatment.

The bill now goes to the Ohio Senate for its approval. The Senate is already considering a similar measure and another bill that would allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana for any patient.

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