A 14-member committee charged with making recommendations about how Ohio's new medical marijuana law will work is now in place. But the leading medical marijuana lobbying group in the state is speaking out against two of the appointees.
"If there was just one member of this prohibitionist group on the panel, that would be one thing," said Aaron Marshall, spokesman for the Ohioans for Medical Marijuana. "But now we've got two."
Tony Coder and Marcie Seidel are members of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee. They also work for the Drug-Free Action Alliance, a Columbus-based organization that has opposed medical marijuana legalization.
"It's just not a good sign," added Marshall. "It's not comforting to the medical marijuana patients in Ohio and people who want this system to work."
But in a phone interview, Coder and Seidel said they are driven to make sure patients are protected, the community is safe and the industry is not fueled by profits.They are honored to be on the committee.
Also on the committee is Mike Stanek, co-owner of Hunt Imaging in Berea and sole owner of Cleveland Cycle Tours downtown.
He is representing employers' interests.
"As with any drug, employers are wary especially if they have employees working in safety-sensitive positions," he said.
Under Ohio's new law, which was implemented in September, employers can still fire, discipline or refuse to hire someone who uses marijuana for medical purposes, even if that person has the approval to consume it.
Stanek said he wants to make sure business owners are protected from lawsuits that may arise from the new law and employees are safe too.
"The fact that employers are able to maintain their drug-free workplace is very important to us," added Stanek, a former Avon Lake and Fairview Park city councilman.
The governor and state congressional leaders appointed all members of the committee. State law requires that the group hold its first meeting within 30 days.