(Columbus, OH) – The Ohio Nurses Association (ONA) today announced its strong opposition to State Issue 3, which would give a small group of self-selected investors a monopoly over the cultivation and sale of marijuana in Ohio and make marijuana widely available across the state at the expense of the health and safety of Ohioans.
ONA joins a broad coalition of medical professionals, hospital associations, and other health advocates in vocalizing opposition to Issue 3 on the basis of health concerns.
“As the voice of registered nurses in Ohio, we actively promote policies that minimize health risks, not increase them,” said Dan Kirkpatrick, ONA President. “The nurses we represent have expressed significant concerns about the health consequences Issue 3 would have on their patients, especially children, who are most vulnerable to accidentally ingesting dangerous amounts of marijuana.”
The amount of THC—the active ingredient in marijuana—in edibles can range from a single serving to ten servings without any change in appearance, resulting in the ingestion of potentially dangerous amounts. According to a study recently conducted by Nationwide Children’s Hospitals, marijuana legalization is closely correlated with accidental ingestion of marijuana, which can cause breathing problems, seizures, and coma.
“There is no way around it—easy access to marijuana will lead to incredible health risk for children and the potential for catastrophic health outcomes that we cannot risk,” said Lori Chovanak, CEO for the Association. “We’ve taken a close look at recent reports from states that have commercialized marijuana, and their healthcare industry’s experience is not one we are eager to replicate.”
A recent report released by the Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) documented a 225 percent increase in the average number of Colorado children exposed to marijuana from 2013-2014 compared to 2006-2008, the years before marijuana commercialization in the state.
In addition to the health risks posed by high-THC commercial marijuana and edible products, smoking marijuana during pregnancy is closely linked to lower birth weight, which contributes heavily to Ohio’s ongoing infant mortality crisis.
For more information on the potential health effects of passing Issue 3, visit http://www.noissue3.com.