Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you are likely aware of “The” big issue on this November’s ballot that could change everyday life as we know it.
Issue 3 seeks to legalize marijuana in Ohio, just as it has been in some western areas of the U.S. Its passage would legalize medical and personal marijuana use for adults 21 and older. Morrow County Commissioners are so adamantly against Issue 3, they passed a resolution Monday in opposition to it.
“They actually have a mascot (made of a marijuana bud) that promotes this process through!” marvelled Commissioner Tom Whiston. “The council of Childrens Hospitals has come out strongly and asked them to stop it. To trivialize such a dangerous thing that kids would eat or get involved with!”
Enter the GreenRush bus tour, showcasing the state’s future marijuana industry. The tour, sponsored by ResponsibleOhio, made a stop in Mt. Gilead Sept. 2 to raise awareness about Issue 3 and get feedback from residents. Haley Phillippi was among the small group who passed out literature and discussed their mission.
“This is our third week out, and we’re doing 3-4 stops a day, four days a week, now through election day,” she explained. “We’re traveling to all 88 counties and over 20 college campuses, trying to communicate our message to voters about marijuana reform here in Ohio.”
What kind of response to the message were they getting?
“So far, we’re really happy with all the positivity we’ve seen, with all the supporters coming out, asking us questions, looking at our bus, wanting pictures and more information about what the marijuana issue will do here in Ohio.”
She said Issue 3 would bring medicinal marijuana to sick Ohioans, cancer patients, and people with painful illness.
“We’re going to be pumping tax revenue back into our communities, creating tens of thousands of jobs and, most importantly, we’re going to be [getting] back our streets from drug dealers who are now [targeting] children,” Phillippi said. Job creation would come through the unlimited number of medical dispensaries, 1,150 retail stores and through the ten growing facilities located throughout Ohio, she added. A ‘business incubator’ would be located in Cuyahoga County where research is performed, and five testing facilities will be created to test the product.
“We’ve had years of [drug] prohibition here in Ohio, with over 100 million dollars spent each year [fighting it], and law enforcement agrees with us that money could be better spent on fighting hard crime,” she said.
“There is no foundation for this,” said Whiston. “This is not a good thing. For people that think that it is, we need to stand strongly in opposition to it. That’s the purpose of the resolution.”
The resolution maintains Issue 3 ‘grants monopoly rights for the commercial growth and distribution of marijuana in Ohio to a small pre-determined group of landowners who will profit exclusively from that ownership.” To create a marijuana monopoly violates Ohio’s tradition of free and open commerce and competition, the resolution continues, and increased availability of marijuana drives increased usage.
The commissioners feel excessively high marijuana possession limits provided in Issue 3 will facilitate sharp increases in marijuana usage in Ohio, and that marijuana will fall into the hands of underage Ohioans, including high school and college students. Issue 3, they maintain, allows sale of marijuana in forms like candy, brownies and cookies that pose an especially great temptation and danger to children. They collectively urge Ohioans to cast a NO vote.
“This can’t be good for anybody but the people that have the farms,” said Commissioner Tom Harden. “It’s going to ruin a lot of lives and families.”
Reach Randa Wagner at 419-946-3010, ext. 1803 or on Twitter@MorrCoSentinel.