Pubdate: Wed, 14 Oct 2015
Source: Dayton Daily News (OH)
Copyright: 2015 Dayton Daily News
Author: Lauren Stephenson


Backers of Legalized Pot: Villains Would Be Out of Business.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said his three-day trip to Colorado 
to learn about marijuana legalization there has him worried about 
what legalization could mean for Ohio and its children.

DeWine, who was in Dayton on Tuesday, said he visited with law 
enforcement, doctors and citizens in Colorado.

"People I talked to said, 'Don't make the same mistake that we made 
in Colorado,'" said DeWine, who is opposed to Issue 3, a 
constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would legalize 
marijuana for people 21 and older.

DeWine spoke while visiting Dayton Children's Hospital, which opposes Issue 3.

"Based on all the research available, we believe making marijuana 
readily available in our state will put children's lives at 
unnecessary risk," said Debbie Feldman, the hospital's president and CEO.

ResponsibleOhio, the group behind Issue 3, said it cares about 
children's safety. "We want to protect our kids and make sure 
marijuana stays out of their hands too," said ResponsibleOhio 
Spokesperson Faith Oltman in a statement.

Feldman, DeWine and Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer said one 
of their main concerns about legalization is children's accessibility 
to edible products containing marijuana.

"What kid is not going to eat Swedish Fish? What kid is not going to 
eat gummy bears?" Plummer said, pointing to a poster of marijuana edibles.

Dr. Gogi Kumar, medical director of Dayton Children's Hospital 
Neurology Department, said marijuana can have lingering effects on kids.

"The brain is still forming connections ... in a child or a 
teenager's brain, so it definitely alters those connections. It also 
increases the risk of anxiety and depression and psychosis," Kumar said.

"We interview people every day and they tell us, 'We started with 
marijuana.' They don't just start with heroin. It's a gateway drug," 
Plummer said.

ResponsibleOhio said drug dealers, not marijuana, are to blame.

"Right now, drug dealers are selling to kids ... And these dangerous 
dealers are the real gateway because they have access to heroin and 
other hard drugs. Issue 3 will smother the black market and stop 
drugs dealers who care more about cash than conscience," Oltman said.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom