Legalization foes appointed to Ohio medical marijuana board

Two opponents of medical marijuana legalization have been appointed to a new Ohio medical marijuana advisory committee, raising concerns among MMJ advocates that the panel may be biased.

Both new members are top officials with the Drug Free Action Alliance, executive director Marcie Seidel, and assistant director Tony Coder. Their job will be to represent people involved in mental health treatment and substance abuse treatment, respectively, the Associated Press reported.

The 14-member committee was finalized this week and must hold its first meeting this month.

Ohioans for Medical Marijuana said committee seats should not go to legalization opponents. Coder said he and Seidel would respect Ohio’s medical marijuana law, and that their main concern is patient safety.

Other committee members are:

  • Pharmacists: Curtis Passafume Jr., vice president of pharmacy services at Ohio Health; and Stephanie Abel of the James Cancer Center
  • Physicians: Oncologist Jerry Mitchell Jr., of the Zagmesiter Cancer Center; and pain management expert Amol Soin at the Ohio Pain Clinic and Greene Memorial Hospital
  • Nurse: Nancy Walsh Mosca, a nurse and nurse educator from Mahoning County
  • Patient advocate: James Bibart, a legislative analyst who studied marijuana law
  • Agriculture: Michael Hirsch of Hirsch Fruit Farm in Ross County
  • Local law enforcement: Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart
  • Organized labor: Jason Kaseman, political director for the United Food & Commercial Workers
  • Employer: Michael Stanek, vice president of Hunt Imaging in Berea
  • Caregiver: Martin McCarthy Jr., a parent from Parma
  • Academic researcher: Gary Wenk, a professor of psychology, neuroscience and molecular virology at Ohio State University who has studied the effects of medical marijuana