Yesterday, Ed FitzGerald gave a phone interview to the Cincinnati Enquirer in which he came out in favor of legalizing medical marijuana in Ohio
. Of course, this news comes just days after one poll showed that Fitz — current Cuyahoga County Executive, Democratic candidate for Governor, and noted fan of parking lots — was trailing Governor John Kasich by 19 points or so, and a long streak of campaign blunders and negative media attention.
"There are people that are suffering from conditions that medical marijuana can alleviate, especially those chronic pain types of conditions," FitzGerald told the paper. "I just think it would show a real lack of compassion if we would continue to deny them that access."
John Kasich, along with plenty of Republicans and just about every other elected official in Ohio, is on the other side, saying the science doesn't support a decision to do what 20 other states plus the District of Columbia have done. (Kasich, DeWine and others should see this
, for what it's worth, not to mention concerns from scientists that the only reason more substantive research hasn't been done is federal roadblocks for money and permission
thanks to marijuana's classification as Schedule 1 drug.) Nevertheless, some 87% of Ohioans
support legalizing medical marijuana, according to a Quinnipiac poll.
As the Ohio Rights Group eyes getting an amendment before the voters in the November 2015 elections, it seems that medical marijuana proponents deserve better than FitzGerald's hail mary. Publicly, they'll say it's nice to have people on their side, as Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance told the Enquirer...
"It's always nice to have candidates for statewide office endorse the legalization of medical marijuana, but I don't see that it's going to make much of a difference now, from what I understand about the state of the gubernatorial race in Ohio," Nadelmann said of FitzGerald's stance. "I think what we most need to see is John Kasich come out in support."
... but the worry, at least from this side of the table, is the issue being relegated to stunt status once again, delegitimized by its connection to FitzGerald's campaign and polls, instead of spearheaded by a candidate passionate about the issue and out in front on being on the right side of history. People, for instance, like David Pepper, who's running against DeWine for state attorney general and has been behind medical marijuana for awhile now. Instead, we get Fitz, who by next week will likely come out in favor of cupcakes or chocolate or whatever might convince one or two other people to vote for him.