AMCNO Outlines Position on Medical Marijuana at Town Hall Meeting in Cleveland

Dr. Robert Hobbs, AMCNO president-elect attended the medical marijuana town hall meeting in Cleveland in order to present the AMCNO viewpoint on the issue of medical marijuana. Senator David Burke began the meeting by stating that the hearing was being held along with several other planned hearings because the Senators want to hear views from others from around the state so that they have some information on this topic as they move forward with their discussions in the legislature. Senator Kenny Yuko also provided opening comments stating that he has done some research on this issue and he believes that there is a chance to change the quality of life for some people. He stated that there are misconceptions about this issue and there is a willingness from people on both sides of the aisle in Columbus to work on this issue. 

Several families with children testified first, outlining how they believe that having the ability to use some form of medical marijuana to treat children with certain diseases could be beneficial and helpful.  Others cited studies and examples of how medical marijuana has already helped their children with epilepsy and seizures.  Others stated that there is ample evidence available that whole plant cannabis should be made available for use. 

Dr. Robert Hobbs, testified on behalf of the AMCNO citing the AMCNO mission statement, which is to support physicians in being strong advocates for all patients and to promote the practice of the highest quality of medicine. He stated that in keeping with our mission statement, the AMCNO believes that it would be inappropriate to legalize a substance for medicinal purposes before more scientific research has been conducted. While there have been some studies which show the potential benefits of marijuana for some medical conditions, the AMCNO believes that further scientific evidence is necessary in order to support the use of this drug as a suitable alternative for the treatment of certain illnesses. Therefore, the AMCNO believes that marijuana should be subject to the same research and study as any other type of medicine, and we do not oppose additional clinical research. 

In his testimony Dr. Hobbs stated that as the debate on this issue continues in Ohio and at the federal level, the AMCNO has agreed to:

  • Oppose the recreational use of marijuana.
  • Support clinical research to explore the potential risks versus benefits of using marijuana or its component chemicals to treat specific medical conditions.
  • Support controlled medical use of pharmaceutical grade marijuana or its component chemicals for treatment of those conditions which have been evaluated through Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved clinical research studies and have been shown to be appropriate.
  • Support the review and possible change of marijuana’s status from a federal Schedule I controlled substance with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines.
  • Support setting limitations on marijuana prescribing rights, if permitted, to physicians (MDs and DOs).
  • Oppose the legalization of marijuana except in the instance of appropriate evidence-based use approved by the FDA.

Dr. Hobbs wrapped up his testimony commenting that the topic of medical marijuana is an important issue for both physicians and the public, and it is critical that physicians and the public become educated about the issues related to medical marijuana and the legalization of marijuana. And, as the debate continues on this topic at both the state and federal level, the AMCNO is committed to working with all parties on this issue and providing our input as necessary. 

In other testimony, concerns were raised about how the widespread use of medical marijuana could impact patient safety before scientific study and testing have been completed.  Suggestions were made that there should be restricted access to only specific diagnoses for patient and, if allowed, medical marijuana should be only be prescribed by a trained physician, dispensed by a licensed pharmacist, tracked via the OARRS system in the state of Ohio, and be limited to only a select group of disease states.  Law enforcement representatives expressed concerns as well. noting that if medical marijuana is approved it should be like all medicines – even without FDA approval the state should have it in patch or pill form – and take the THC out of it so that patients will still receive the medicinal benefits, but without impairment, addiction, use by youth and those wanting to get high.   


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