Pubdate: Sun, 04 Oct 2015
Source: Repository, The (Canton, OH)
Copyright: 2015 The Repository
Author: Ian James, Executive director, ResponsibleOhio


For Far Too Long, Ohio Has Trailed the Nation Instead of Leading the Way.

For far too long, Ohio has trailed the nation instead of leading the 
way. This November, Ohioans have the opportunity to make Ohio a 
leader again by passing Issue 3 and enacting a proposal that a 
majority of Ohioans agree on - the legalization of marijuana.

Marijuana prohibition has failed and Ohioans want reform. But Ohio 
lawmakers refuse to act at the Statehouse. So the voters have a 
choice during early voting and on Election Day. And our decision will 
either propel us into being the first state in the Midwest to reap 
the many benefits of marijuana legalization or we will be once again 
shaking our heads and asking ourselves, "Why is Ohio always last? 
Always trailing the nation?"

Ohioans should vote Yes on Issue 3 to legalize marijuana for medical 
use and personal use for adults 21 and over, and there are many reasons why.

Marijuana is in Ohio, and our marijuana laws have failed - at a price 
of $100 million per year. When we bring marijuana out of the shadows, 
we will be able to focus on the drug dealers who are the true 
gateways to harder drug use like heroin. We'll be able to use that 
$100 million a year that's wasted right now on minor marijuana busts 
to arrest and lock up the genuine bad guys.

A vote yes on Issue 3 means providing compassionate care to sick Ohioans.

People suffering with cancer, veterans with PTSD, children with 
epilepsy and so many other Ohioans who are in daily pain from an 
illness will be able to purchase medical marijuana legally. Medical 
marijuana will be provided to anyone whom a licensed physician says 
needs it. The amount charged will be based on their ability to pay so 
that low income people will have access to the medicine.

A yes vote on Issue 3 will bring our state jobs. Lots of them. 10 
growing sites, five testing facilities, an innovation center, 
manufacturing companies and more than 1,100 retail stores means good 
paying jobs. Around 10,000 jobs for people from many different 
backgrounds and all different levels of education.

We'll also have more public sector jobs, like firefighters and police 
officers, and safer communities because a yes vote on Issue 3 means 
taxing marijuana and using the $554 million per year in tax revenue 
for jobs and brick and mortar projects in our communities.

Some of our critics wrongly call Issue 3 a "monopoly" because, for 
now, we are limiting growing to 10 sites. Limiting the number of 
growing sites is what has been done in other states because limiting 
the number of growing sites allows the state to control the quality 
of products. We want to make sure marijuana is as safe as possible. 
And in places like Colorado, where growing is like the Wild West of 
Weed, there are multiple instances of unsafe pesticides and 
insecticides being used to treat marijuana. That's unacceptable.

If the Marijuana Control Commission, the industry's state-run, 
marijuana-regulating body created by the passage of Issue 3, 
determines that demand is not being met (for medicinal or personal 
marijuana), they will provide additional licenses. Without asking 
voters to go to the ballot.

Legalizing marijuana will also help to keep it out of the hands of 
kids. Right now, drug dealers in our communities are selling to kids 
and aren't ID-ing them. We will make sure marijuana stays out of the 
hands of minors and there will be harsh consequences for people who 
sell or give marijuana to them.

The advantages of marijuana reform in Ohio are many. Ohio voters will 
have the opportunity to make our state a leader. We cannot afford to, 
again, let Ohio fall behind. Vote Yes on Issue 3.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom