Could medical marijuana curb Elyria's opioid problems?

Posted at 7:23 PM, Feb 22, 2017

Elyria fire officials worked eleven suspected opiate overdoses in the last twenty-four hours. On the same day, city officials were looking into a controversial way to potentially curb the problem. 

It's often said the early bird catches the worm. "It is the law now and it is coming," said Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda.

Well, in this case, the worm is a state license to legally grow, sell or research medical marijuana and the birds? 3 companies looking to expand in the city of Elyria.

"Those companies that are interested in applying for the license are looking for a home base. Elyria was contacted probably because we are at the nexus of three major highways" said Mayor Brinda.

Elyria's mayor says the city hasn't taken a position on the issue at this time. For now, they are just weighing out the pros and cons. "Certainly the monetary side of it can make a difference for the city of Elyria,” said Mayor Brinda.

But while the city welcomes the economic benefits there is another major factor they are considering. "The medical community is even exploring the use of medical cannabis as a substitute for the stronger opioids they sometimes prescribe for serious illnesses," said Mayor Brinda.

But Lorain County Health Commissioner Dave Covell is skeptical that some of the touted benefits are unsubstantiated. "Everyone is looking for an answer to that question. What I would ask is, is medical marijuana the answer to that?" said Covell.

Covell believes more research is needed. "It would be better if we could find a federal way to look at it all together and we'd get a lot better data," said Covell.

The companies don't necessarily need the city's approval to apply for a license.

But the endorsement could give them a positive boost during the application process.