November 27, 2014


Advocates push for medicinal marijuana in Ohio

Cheryl Shuman, the “Martha Stewart of Marijuana,” speaks about her experiences with medincinal cannabis at Oberlin College on Thursday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Cheryl Shuman, the “Martha Stewart of Marijuana,” speaks about her experiences with medicinal cannabis at Oberlin College on Thursday. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

OBERLIN — John Pardee didn’t see many good options after his son was involved in a near-death car crash in January 2008.

Pardee’s son survived, but doctors said he would have to manage the pain from his injuries for the rest of his life.

Pardee said his son only had one option — to take opiates, like Oxycontin or Vicodin, for pain management. But with a high potential for abuse, Pardee wondered why there weren’t more options.

John Pardee, president of the Ohio Rights Group, speaks about his experiences with medincinal cannabis at Oberlin College on Thursday.

John Pardee, president of the Ohio Rights Group, speaks about his experiences with medicinal cannabis at Oberlin College on Thursday.

So Pardee, an environmental consultant, began doing some research and he found a medical alternative, albeit one that is illegal in Ohio.

“I found that cannabis has not killed anyone,” he said to a crowd at Oberlin College on Thursday.

Pardee, who is leading the medical cannabis reform movement in Ohio as president of the Ohio Rights Group, discussed what he called the numerous benefits of cannabis use and why it should be legalized for medical and industrial reasons.

He said in addition to medical benefits, hemp, which is the non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant, can be used for food, fuel and fiber. The group isn’t pushing for legalization for recreational use, Pardee said.

Ohio isn’t the first state to consider the legalization of medical marijuana. Twenty U.S. states have medical marijuana provisions, although the drug is still illegal under federal law.

Pardee said there has been support in Ohio for reform.

The Ohio Rights Group has sponsored the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment that, if passed, would allow for the medical use of marijuana and the industrial use of hemp.

Proponents for the amendment say that legalizing cannabis for medical and industrial use would raise billions for the government if taxed and would decrease drug-related crimes.

The Ohio Rights Group has already garnered more than 30,000 signatures from registered Ohio voters, but it needs 385,000 valid signatures to get the amendment on the ballot in 2014.

That’s where the help of Cheryl Shuman, who has been called the “Martha Stewart of Marijuana,” comes in.

Pardee said Shuman was an obvious choice to join the medical marijuana campaign.

“She has the biggest megaphone in America today,” he said. “She’s reached literally millions of people. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate person.”

Shuman, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, said she used cannabis as an alternative medicine, which she credits with saving her life. Shuman is a legal medical marijuana user in California, but she faces legal repercussions when visiting her family in her Ohio hometown, where medical marijuana is still illegal.

Shuman said joining the campaign to legalize medical marijuana in Ohio was an easy choice.

“For me, it’s a very personal thing. I’m a legal medical cannabis user. I’m a cancer survivor, and I use it so I can stay cancer free.”

Shuman was coined the “Martha Stewart of marijuana” due to her activism to legalize medical marijuana. The publicity generated from her personal battle led to her appointment as the executive director of the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club, but Shuman was well-known before her work in the medical marijuana movement.

The daughter of a poor tobacco farming family in Scioto County, Shuman created a coupon refunding system at the age of 17, which she credited with putting her through college. She appeared on “The Bob Braun Show” on WLWT-TV in Cincinnati to offer money-saving tips after newspaper articles on the refunding system were published.

Shuman later moved to California, where she became a personal optician to celebrities like Michael Jackson, Julia Roberts and Johnny Depp.

Shuman said she first learned about the medical uses of cannabis as an optician — marijuana has been linked to glaucoma treatment — but she never used the drug until a doctor recommended it to her after she was struck by a drunk driver, leaving her bedridden.

“I’d never done a drug in my life… but I took a puff of this joint that he rolled for me … and within two puffs … I felt better than I have ever felt before in my life,” she said.

Shuman said when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, she again turned to marijuana after other treatments and medicines turned her into “a vegetable.” She credits marijuana with curing her cancer and believes the drug has special healing powers.

“It is a medicine. It should be dispensed in our hospitals. It should be dispensed in our nursing homes,” she said.

Shuman and Pardee are not the only people who believe in legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

Pardee quoted a 2004 AARP study that found 72 percent of senior citizens supported medical marijuana. A crowd of approximately 30 to 40 people at Oberlin College applauded Pardee when he asked if the drug should be legalized for medical purposes.

Shuman said she is working to negotiate a $250,000 pledge for the cause. The Ohio Rights Group also sponsored a dinner after Thursday’s speech to raise money for signature collections.

Pardee and Shuman, who said they are strictly volunteers, said they will push for the legislation until it is passed.

“I will not stop being an activist. I will not stop being in the media until I see medical marijuana legalization in Ohio and the rest of the country,” Shuman said.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.

  • Alan Pugh

    The momentum in Ohio right now is exhilarating. A vast majority of Ohioans are ready for cannabis as medicine, and the only possible roadblocks are time and money. For anyone reading this article who wants to know more, or wants to help, you can check out these links: to volunteer to donate

    • Michele From Ohio

      When is the legislation going up for an actual vote?

      • Alan Pugh

        If enough signatures are collected, November 2014

        • Michele From Ohio

          Thanks. Can’t happen soon enough.

  • hottamomma

    just make it legal period, just like tylenol and aleve.

  • CR Liberty

    An OH State Buckeye bumper sticker is cause for Law Enforcement in TN to stop and harass OH seniors traveling through the Volunteer State. The shame of continued prohibition is one we as a nation are ready to put behind us. Vote Marijuana Propagandists out of office.

  • Mark B

    Might be a good idea to post places where registered voters can sign the petition. I would be nice if a person could stop by a specific place and sign.

  • Phil Blank

    I just don’t understand why or how people can abuse opiates?
    The block you up like a brick and you’d have to spend the rest of your life sucking-down prune juice.

    • modus

      if that’s the only choice you have legally for pain relief, that’s what you do… not saying its a good choice, just saying sometimes its the only choice someone has.

    • Melissa Merrill Snyder

      Phil, have you lived with chronic pain? When it becomes difficult to deal with, you have to take something. Some just get caught up in the ‘make the pain go away’ and don’t realize they are abusing or misusing the meds. They just know they feel better. It’s a fine line to walk. Trust me.

  • kevin_hunt

    Marijuana Consumption Doesn’t Necessarily Negatively Impact Your Health

    A research team from Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) examined the effect of marijuana consumption on a person’s overall health status and use of health care services.

    “Even though we could not compare marijuana users to those who used no drugs at all, our findings suggest that marijuana use has little measurable effect on self-reported health or healthcare utilization in adults using drugs identified in a primary care clinic,” explained Daniel Fuster, M.D., lead author of the study.

    • Joe Smith

      There is also vaporizers which don’t produce smoke and weed can be eaten also which eliminates the worse health issues

      • kevin_hunt

        Also…edibles are made from the trimmings of the plant and are generally only affordable where licensed (legal) production is allowed.

  • rsun

    Did she really have cancer or is this another snake oil story by someone looking to make a quick buck for the Beverly hills Cannabis Club, she needs to give us more info or else this looks fishy/false

    • Michele From Ohio

      The Wall Street Journal just did an article on Cheryl Shuman.

      Marijuana legalization is coming, like it or not. No one is forcing anyone to use it that doesn’t want to…

      • Lindsay

        What have you brought to the cause Michele? Have you been an asset to the cause because this statement sounds asinine. Cheryl Shuman has donated countless hours and dollars to Ohio! That is FAR MORE than most people. So what if you don’t like her or her celebrity status- it has nothing to do with her volunteer work in Ohio. Unity brings change. Chaos and negativity bring the cause and the momentum down. Be positive for positive change!

        • Michele From Ohio

          I’m sorry if I have offended you, I just don’t think Shuman is a good choice as a spokesperson at this precarious time in the marijuana legalization movement, IMO.

          She has too many wacky allegations against her, Google her name and you will find a large Encyclopedia Dramatica entry devoted to her (alleged) nuttiness.

          And then there is *this* criticism of her becoming a figurehead in the legalization movement:

          weedactivist. com /2013/10/01/ cheryl-shuman-is-full-of-shit/

          It seem Cheryl Shuman is all about promoting Cheryl Shuman…

    • ‘Mikee Edwards

      “Who is Cheryl Shuman?
      Referred to as the “Martha Stewart of Marijuana,” Cheryl Shuman announces the formation of Green Asset International Inc.. Shuman brings 25 years of experience working with media, celebrities, marketing and health care in Beverly Hills. Shuman found her passion in the cannabis movement since 1996 working as an activist and legal cannabis patient. Since using cannabis therapy, she has survived cancer and injuries from two car crashes” .

      • Peter Aldrich

        Two car accidents? Was probably high and at fault…

  • rsun

    Convince us……… with truth not with propaganda, i think most would agree with that

  • Immortal Illumined

    the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING

    from 0 states to half the country and much of the world, marijuana is revolutionizing the planet


    i couldn’t imagine living in a state 20 years behind us, no thanks, cali boss

    • jz


    • Danny Devlin

      Spoken with truth Immortal ! The war on drugs is a big profitable business for governments from local to state to federal to private prisons. It’s all about the money brother is why cannabis remains illegal.

  • Tate Wells

    THIS IS GREAT! I hope that the other states are watching. I am glad that CO and WA are leading the charge for recreational legalization. This shows other states like OH how they can reduce state costs by not arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating marijuana related crimes and actually make money by taxing marijuana to strengthen the state’s social services and infrastructure.

    Legalize It, Regulate It, Tax It!
    Follow Us on Twitter @StonerNationCom

    • Bill M. – Elyria OH, USA

      There is no proof that marijuana has a medical benefit.
      There is proof that many people have developed substance abuse problems and the consequences of that from smoking marijuana. The folks that would benefit from legalized marijuana will not be those with pain, cancer, glaucoma, etc. Those that benefit will be government and drug manufacturers.

      • ‘Mikee Edwards

        Bill M. , you are a sheep and a liar. READ THE NEWSPAPER, USE THE INTERNET, AND TURN OFF THE TV! There are now THOUSANDS of studies which show that marijuana not only has a multitude of benefits, but is only PSYCHOLOGICALLY addictive and totally non-toxic. Google Medical Marijuana, Ya’ TOOL! P.S. Kills cancer of nearly every type as well! You are a government shill and a troll. Take your lies elsewhere!!! PPS. There are NO studies that show addiction or ANY type of addiction side effects caused by cannabis / marijuana use!

        • Pablo Jones

          Well marijuana doesn’t improve the politeness or civility of people.

          • Joe Smith

            Thats because they are out of weed….lol

        • Joe Smith

          Chocolate is more addictive than weed

        • Michele From Ohio

          Hey Mikee, way to bring people around to our POV.

          Sorry, Bill M but you are misinformed. A lot of people are.

        • Peter Aldrich

          Mikee, you are the sheep….and most iikely high most of the time

      • ‘Mikee Edwards

        Bill M., I’ll bet you are a PIG, huh Piggy? Some big D.A.R.E. narc that breaks up families…Next year, when we change the Constitution of Ohio to allow cannabis and hemp, you’ll be out of a job! NARC!

        • Larry Crnobrnja

          What Pablo said. Chill out.

      • jz

        Who benefits now? Violent criminal cartel members in Mexico, lawyers, police departments from federal grant money, people who deal in large black market quantities if they don,t get caught. Common sense tells me probably 1 out of 1,000 people who smoked marihuana did not develop harder drug addictions, at the same time I,d be willing to bet 9 out of 10 hard core drug addicts probably began with alcohol, then marihuana. You point is probably moot and pointless. I,m guessing you favor chemotherapy and addictive opiates?

        • kevin_hunt

          “drug addicts probably began with alcohol”?

          You would be CORRECT!

          A study in the August 2012 edition of The Journal of School Health finds that the generations old theory of a “gateway drug” effect is in fact accurate for some drug users, but shifts the blame for those addicts’ escalating substance abuse away from marijuana and onto the most pervasive and socially accepted drug in American life: alcohol.

          Using a nationally representative sample from the University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future survey, the study blasts holes in drug war orthodoxy wide enough to drive a truck through, definitively proving that marijuana use is not the primary indicator of whether a person will move on to more dangerous substances.

          • jz

            As correct as you are we know studies can be gerrymadered. To me it is just common sense.

        • Joe Smith

          You are right jz, There wouldn’t be violent cartels if it was legal, look at all the violence that was caused by prohibition and the mafia that rose from it, if it was legal the criminals wouldn’t be selling it anymore.

      • Joe Smith

        Totally wrong, did you get your info from watching the movie Reefer Madness?

      • kevin_hunt

        Ha believe your own nonsense. 85% of Americans disagree with you. Government and drug companies currently benefit from prohibition, which is why they oppose medical marijuana. How are the drug companies going to continue to charge $15 per dose for Marinol, when anyone can grow marijuana for next to nothing? How are the drug cops going to make their seizure money if all they have to go after is hard drugs?

        “The classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug as well as the continuing controversy as to whether or not cannabis is of medical value are obstacles to medical progress in this area. Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking.”

        Source: Medical Marijuana: Clearing Away the Smoke

        Open Neurol J. 2012; 6: 18–25.

        Published online 2012 May 4. doi: 10.2174/1874205X01206010018

        PMCID: PMC3358713

      • Bill

        Plenty of links in this article to show all the proof you need.

      • Danny Devlin

        Bill,are you a supporter for alcohol ? Beer,whiskey,vodka,wine ? Do you realize that alcohol kills thousands every year as well as inducing crime ? Most people drink alcohol and become enraged,they want to fight,they drive drunk and kill others. People who use marijuana chill out,they calm down,they relax,plus the medicinal benefits of relieving pain,discomfort,anxiety and a host of other symptoms and ailments,alcohol does numb pain but with a major hangover for most,marijuana has no hangover effects nor does it incite violence. I would mush rather see alcohol banned and marijuana made legal and take it’s place.

      • Joe Smith

        The reason people get substance abuse problems from smoking weed is because it is illegal.

        When a person is at their dealer getting weed they are offered different drugs and they give it a try and get addicted.

        if they were getting this from a pharmacy they would not be offered those different drugs and would likely not try them.

        And there is all kinds of research showing the med benefits of weed.

        And all the above aside, weed is less harmful than alcohol and simply should be legal period.

      • Brittaniee Card

        Green Eggs and Ham, Bill you can learn a lot from that book!!!!!!!

      • Aaron Dominic


  • Mark B
  • Bill
    • Bill

      Just legalize it already. It’s going to happen anyhow.

    • dr42th

      there is an excellent documentary that can be watched on just type in weed sanjay gupta documentary.
      it is an excellent presentation on how marijuana is medicinal, why it can be addictive, and how the drug has become altered in the last 40 years.
      there are so many different uses, so are good, most are not.
      pay close attention to how thc has been altered over the years, and how cbd is the component of the drug that works exceptionally well with pain.
      this is a much watch!

  • Danny Devlin

    I’m in Ohio and I think the movement here is fantastic ! As a community we have got to find a way to remove the stigma that has always followed cannabis or we will lose the fight. I know people who are all for legalization in Ohio but they still have the Cheech & Chong image in their mind and the false notion instilled by our government that anyone who uses cannabis/marijuana is a slow slurred talking brain cell killing waste. Plus there is the fact that cannabis being illegal is very profitable for local,state and federal governments and this part of the problem needs remedy.

  • Babar Saeed

    Ohio should legalize it just to decriminalize it. If we were to just legalize it and sell it for a dollar a gram like Uruguay, this way we don’t have to go to drug dealers, we could just buy it from the state

    • Peter Aldrich

      Oh, that is such great logic…..”just to decriminalize it…..”

  • Zen Grouch

    I injured my neck a couple years ago, and the pain was incredible. My quack neurologists wanted to schedule surgery with one of his quack friends, telling me it’s either that or a lifetime of opiates, which despite what I previously believed, was no fun at all.

    The morphine and synthetic morphine was great for covering up the pain, but when I wouldn’t take the stuff to clear out the intestines and head, the withdraw was intense… hellish nightmares, profuse sweating while the wife is all, “What’s your problem?!” like nails on a chalkboard. Then the pain is way worse…

    Anyway, medical pot is legal here, and my buddy who has a license, which the quack wouldn’t give me… And that’s another thing, my legitimate doctors wouldn’t give me a script for a license, but if you go to Venice Beach you can walk in, slap down about $50 bucks, tell the doc you have chronic hangnails and Bingo, you’re fixed up and on the way to the “clinic.”

    So, with my buddy and his license, I bought a couple kinds of kush or whatever it’s called, and some fantastic chocolate bars, for next to nothing… well, you can get high a dozen times off of one $15 dollar bar. The stuff is cheaper than band candy…

    As for the pain management, it doesn’t actually cover up the pain, it… now this is difficult to explain… it, allows you to separate yourself from the pain, look at it, analyze the pain and deal with the pain in a different way. Allowing you to take what you learned while high, and, to a degree, keep it with you when not stoned. It allows you to put the pain on a back burner, rather than kick it out of the house.

    Plus music sounds fantastic, and videos are WAY more entertaining!

    • Bill

      Come on Zen. You can’t tell me when you were a cop you didn’t confiscate a bag or 3 that found there way home with you.

      • Zen Grouch

        That would be stealing.

        On occasion, if I’d find some weed after putting ‘em up against the wall, looking for guns, I might ask for a joint or two. They never said no, and the looks on there faces made work fun.

        If I’d bust someone for the usual insanity and they were carrying, I’d tell ‘em that they were in for a more thorough search at the lockup, and I only check the back seat for weapons. If they’d push some stuff down there on the ride to jail, I’d usually leave it and tell the trustee to clean my unit. He was happy, folks in lockup were happy after he went back for the night, and I had the cleanest unit in the district.

  • Peter Aldrich


  • Brittaniee Card

    I helped my sister this summer at the zoo to attain signatures.