Ohio marijuana debate gets new flame

A worker processes marijuana in the trimming room at the Medicine Man dispensary and grow operation in northeast Denver. Colorado. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – There’s a new turn in the marijuana debate in the Buckeye State.

Gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald says he supports legalizing medical marijuana, while Governor John Kasich is holding his ground on the topic.

Beairshelle Edmé spoke with one man who says the drug has changed his life.

Michael Brice Keller is a veteran who told 2 NEWS he’s been given various prescription drugs.

But he says only marijuana has relived his suffering.

He believes FitzGerald’s newest announcement could make a big difference for Ohioans like him.

After serving in both Iraq and Korea, Keller took the call of duty back home as a narcotics officer.

Currently a criminal attorney, he says then he was misinformed about marijuana.

“And I just kind of assumed marijuana is suppose to be bad and it’s suppose to be like heroin or cocaine, but that’s really not what’s happening,” Keller explained.

When diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) his thinking changed.

“For me, it saved my life,” says the veteran. “It just helps relax me and calms the symptoms of PTSD and it’s largely safer than the other prescription that I was previously given by the medical community.”

2 NEWS reached out to the FitzGerald campaign; they say it’s about compassion.

“And you know the governor’s decision are his own. It’s our opinion that this isn’t a matter, but whether you have compassion from people who are in incredible pain,” explained Lauren Hitt, the campaign’s press secretary.

Keller, a criminal law attorney, believes not legalizing the drug is enabling a black market.

He thinks the governor must act; it’s why he’s sued Kasich.

“We know marijuana is medicine. We know people in Ohio are suffering and yet Kasich does nothing,” he stated.

2 NEWS with Governor Kasich’s office about his stance.

In a statement we obtained, it says, “The governor is opposed to medical marijuana–he believes there are better ways to manage pain, and it isn’t the medical community that is advocating for it.”

Keller says he’s not buying it.

“The truth of the situation is that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, has medical value and should be legalized,” he said.

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