Legislation / Politics

Democrat Ed FitzGerald
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FitzGerald endorses medical marijuana

Sep 13, 2014


COLUMBUS — Democrat Ed FitzGerald has quietly become the first candidate of a major party for Ohio governor to endorse legalization of marijuana for medical purposes.
The Cuyahoga County executive and former FBI agent and prosecutor did not hold a press conference or issue a press release to announce his stance on the controversial issue.
“He’s been talking with doctors and public health officials to reach a place where he was comfortable coming down on one side or the other,” said Lauren Hitt, FitzGerald spokesman. “As a father of four, he wanted to make sure he supported this for reasons other than revenue but because it would benefit people who are suffering in this state.”
Republican Gov. John Kasich opposes legalization of marijuana. The Green Party, which has Toledo’s Anita Rios as the third candidate on the ballot, favors it.
The issue has taken on less importance as a gubernatorial campaign issue in recent months. Varying ballot issues have been floated in the last few years to legalize marijuana for medical, recreational, and industrial purposes, but no petitions were filed to put the question before voters on Nov. 4.
Ms. Hitt said Mr. FitzGerald’s position is not a bid by his struggling campaign to energize the youth vote. The underfunded campaign recently downsized and shifted its focus more toward getting Democratic voters to the polls after a two-year-old Westlake police report surfaced that Mr. FitzGerald was found in a car alone with a woman who was not his wife while parked at an industrial complex in the middle of an October, 2012, night.
The police officer, Mr. FitzGerald, and the woman, a member of an Irish delegation visiting Cuyahoga County, have all said nothing untoward occurred.
But this incident led to the further revelation that Mr. FitzGerald had been driving illegally for nearly a decade without a permanent license.
“This is not a Hail Mary pass for November,” Ms. Hitt said. “It’s a niche issue, but enough of a public one that voters deserve to know where he stands. It’s not a campaign strategy or platform.”
Most Ohioans had reached the same conclusion that Mr. FitzGerald has.
A Quinnipiac Poll in February showed that 87 percent of registered voters support legalizing marijuana for medical purposes only. Support dropped to 51 percent when it came to possessing small amounts for recreational use as the states of Colorado and Washington allow.
Twenty-three states, including neighboring Michigan, allow medical marijuana.
“It’s an issue of compassion,” Ms. Hitt said. “It’s a public health issue for people who are in extreme amounts of pain.
“Studies have shown this can ease their pain without the risk of addiction that other painkillers carry. Whether it’s in the form of a pill or oil, it can help young children who suffer seizures two or three times a day.”

Source:  The Blade

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