Activists in Ohio are beginning their campaign to put the legalization of cannabis to a vote in 2015. ResponsibleOhio says it will soon be putting forth an initiative to “end marijuana prohibition”, and will “pursue [the initiative] in 2015 to give voters the opportunity to let adults 21 and older use marijuana for medical and personal use.”
“Marijuana for medical and personal use should be a choice made by adults 21 and older in this state. We are going to end this failed prohibition,” says Lydia Bolander, a spokesperson for the campaign. “Legalizing marijuana for medical and personal use means increased safety because we will regulate, tax and treat marijuana like alcohol,” she says. “We will smother the black market and use the taxes generated to help local communities provide vital public services.
She continues; “We need to be compassionate and ensure patients receive the treatment they rightfully deserve. We will create jobs in the agricultural, wholesale and retail marketplace, and we will drive research at our universities and hospitals… We will take the steps that so many other states have taken to decriminalize marijuana so that we are no longer destroying lives and our law-enforcement officers are spending their time investigating and arresting the real criminals threatening our communities”.
According to Bolander; “This is about safety, personal freedom, healthy choices, jobs and tax dollars for our communities.”
If approved into law, ResponsibleOhio’s initiative – which will be a constitutional amendment – would legalize the possession, private cultivation and retail sale of cannabis to those 21 and older, while also establishing a tightly-controlled medical cannabis program. The measure would establish a Marijuana Control Commission, which would be responsible for establishing regulations.
According to polling released earlier this year, 87% of those in Ohio support legalizing medical cannabis, with 51% supporting recreational legalization.