At the previous city council meeting, Councilmember O’Malley addressed the potential of allowing state licensure for the sale of medical marijuana in the city of Lakewood. He and the Public Safety Committee expressed the concern that opening a dispensary in Lakewood in the middle of an opioid crisis would promote drug usage, rather than reduce it.
I am calling on the City Council to end, rather than extend, the moratorium on retail medical marijuana establishments. Public safety and public health will only improve by allowing licensure for medical cannabis establishments, and the city would only benefit from the increased tax revenue.
As many of us well know, the opioid crisis we are facing as a community is extreme. As the Columbus Dispatch reported in November 2016, Ohio is the leading state in the nation in opioid overdose deaths. Specifically, Ohio has the most deaths from heroin – 1 in 9 heroin deaths across the United States happen in Ohio. Last year alone, 28 people died in Lakewood from heroin, and the police and fire departments responded to 251 overdose calls.
We cannot play naïve about who created this epidemic. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy, as well as the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitor, reported that doctors prescribed over 4 million doses of painkillers to residents of Cuyahoga County. The Ohio Department of Health stated that prescription painkillers accounted for 63% of unintentional deaths in 2010, as well as costing Ohioans $3.6 billion dollars annually. Let’s analyze what this means: when patients are running out of these highly addictive painkillers, they turn to opiates like heroin as a cheaper, readily available solution.
How can we, as concerned citizens and community members, respond to this crisis?
Well, the American Journal of Public Health testified that, in states permitting medical marijuana dispensaries, opiate overdoses