New bill would expand program

One of the growing rooms at Pure Ohio Wellness in Springfield, Monday, September 20, 2021. Marijuana cultivators are lobbying the state to loosen square footage restrictions that hamstring their ability to profit from their crops.

Robert Kowalski used to take 22 pills a day to combat pain, post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions stemming from years of military service.

The U.S. Air Force veteran had trouble sleeping and struggled with depression after two combat tours in Iraq. Veterans Affairs diagnosed him with agoraphobia, he said – the fear of certain situations that make people feel trapped or helpless. 

But the medication hurt more than it helped. Kowalski said he either slept too much or too little and experienced vivid dreams. He lost his energy and felt like a zombie, as if he was just existing.

"I didn’t like the way that stuff was making me feel or the problems it was causing in my career," said Kowalski, a 33-year-old living in Boardman. 

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