State Senator Dave Burke (R-Marysville) joined Senator Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) to announce their plan to host a series of town hall forums across the state to gather input from Ohioans on whether marijuana should be decriminalized for limited medical use.

“Following the discussions surrounding Issue 3 last November, many Ohioans support having serious talks about medical marijuana,” said Burke. “I believe my skills as a pharmacist and legislator qualify me to help study this further—although, I do remain skeptical about the issue. Leading requires listening, and I look forward to hearing from Ohioans on each side of this issue.”

Despite political differences, Burke and Yuko agree that the process should focus on listening to the will of Ohioans and expertise of medical professionals, rather than allowing the state’s constitution to be used as a tool to secure individual financial gain.

“This is about quality of life for the elderly, for young kids who are suffering needlessly and the parents that care for them,” said Yuko. “We need to listen to the voices of the people we represent. I look forward to hearing from more people around the state about what medical marijuana means to them and their families.”

A series of public events in Cleveland, Toledo, Cincinnati and Columbus will provide a public forum for Ohioans to share their thoughts on whether marijuana should be permitted for limited medical uses.

Cleveland State University will host the first public forum which will be held 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 30, 2016 in the Gerald H. Gordon Conference Pavilion of the Wolstein Center. The exact dates, times and site locations for the other events will be announced later this week.

The public is encouraged to attend the forums in-person or submit written testimony directly to Senator Burke at [email protected] and Senator Yuko at [email protected].

Ohio voters soundly defeated Issue 3 last November, which included broad and sweeping changes to the Ohio Constitution regarding state marijuana laws.

“We believe that changing the Constitution should be the absolute last step in any public process, not the first,” Burke said. “The House and Senate are taking separate approaches with the same goal to gain better understanding for Ohioans’ wishes on this subject. Since November, I have been working with Representative Kirk Schuring and look forward to continuing this working relationship going forward.”

Marijuana remains an illegal substance under federal law despite mixed messages from the federal government.

Staff report