Businesses gather to learn more about legalized marijuana

Medical marijuana

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Local businesses want to know how proposed marijuana legislation in Ohio could impact them. A seminar was held in Austintown Friday where the issue was explored.

More than 50 representatives from businesses in the Valley examined their concerns about possible marijuana regulations in the workplace. They listened to information presented by representatives from Mahoning County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services who said that there will be consequences to a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana.

Supporters of the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment are gathering signatures in hopes of putting the proposed legislation on the November 2015 ballot. They need 365,000 valid names and so far they have 125,000.

“The reason we are pushing for therapeutic cannabis is because way too many Ohioans are dying and being injured because of alcohol and prescription drug overdoses and heroin overdoses, which is at epidemic levels,” said Ohio Rights Group President John Pardee.

On-Demand Drug Testing in Austintown hosted the informational meeting for companies that use the facility for drug testing. Company spokeswoman Stefanie Ivany said they are hearing more concerns from businesses about liability if the proposed legislation becomes law.

“It would mean re-doing their drug-free workplace policies,” Ivany said.

Candace Crum with Brentwood Originals and David Pryjma with VEC, Inc. attended the meeting and agree that businesses need to be proactive and see what rights employees and employers would have if marijuana is legalized.

“We need to start laying the ground work to come up with a plan on how we are going to handle the situation if it passes,” Pryjma said.

Pardee said he too wants to work with businesses in the state and come up policies that provide for a safe work environment and “honors the rights of individuals to determine their own medical needs.”

An effort by the Ohio Rights Group to get the legislation on the November 2014 ballot failed by about 250,000 signatures.

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