Ohioans remain split on whether marijuana should be legal, despite recent votes in Colorado and Washington.
The state was even with 47 percent supporting legalization and 47 percent opposing it in a Quinnipiac poll released this past week.
Ohioans were slightly more conservative on the topic than the nation at large. Fifty-one percent of Americans supported legalization of the drug and 44 percent opposed legalization, according to a poll released earlier this month.
Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana through ballot initiatives, but that’s an unlikely route for Ohio, said Morgan Fox, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project. A recent initiative, the Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment of 2012, didn’t make the November ballot.
“It’s so expensive to run a ballot initiative,” Fox said.
But efforts to legalize medical marijuana through legislation have not fared much better.
Ohio Reps. Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights, and Bob Hagan, D-Youngstown, proposed legislation to decriminalize medical marijuana in April 2011, but the bill saw no action.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational use would be a mistake.
“When we say something’s legal, the law is a teacher,” DeWine said. “We’re saying it’s OK, it’s alright.”
That message would cause marijuana use to increase dramatically, he said.
Washington and Colorado voters still don’t know how their state initiatives will jive with federal law, which prohibits cannabis. A majority of Americans, 64 percent, want the federal government to stay out of states’ marijuana laws, according to a Gallup poll.
DeWine said he wouldn’t speculate on what the U.S. Attorney General should do.
Chillicothe Law Director Sherri Rutherford said she doubted Ohioans would support legalization of marijuana, even if taxing the drug would bring in funds for local governments.
“It’s a mentality we have. We won’t go for it,” Rutherford said.
In Ohio, support is strongest among Democrats (57 percent for legalization), African-Americans (60 percent) and people ages 18 to 29 (65 percent). Their views mimicked those of the nation at large, where 58 percent of Democrats, 57 percent of African-Americans and 67 percent of people ages 18 to 29 supported legalization.
“As more and more states start to pass medical marijuana laws, people see this is just like any other medicine,” Fox said.
Ohioans who oppose legalization of marijuana tend to be Republican (67 percent against legalization), born-again evangelicals (65 percent) and individuals older than 65 (68 percent), according to the poll. Nationwide, 66 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of born-again evangelicals and 56 percent of individuals older than 65 opposed legalization of the drug, according to the poll.
Several local prosecutors said they would enforce whichever law is on the books.
“It’s up to the will of the state of Ohio. We live in a democracy,” Marion Law Director Mark Russell said.
Newark Law Director Doug Sassen said he would enforce the law as it’s written, but doesn’t think legalization of marijuana will save the city money on staffing because police officers and prosecutors have plenty of other work to do.
Sassen said he’s heard concerns that legalizing marijuana would increase operating a vehicle while under the influence violations, Sassen said.
“If there is no restriction on consumption of marijuana, it becomes similar to alcohol and there could be some residual impact,” Sassen said.
What they are saying so far!
Meri Etzwiler Herren · Top CommenterI’d much rather see people smoking marijuana than getting drunk. There’s no such thing as a hangover from marijuana, there is no risk of physical addiction, no one has ever overdosed on marijuana, and I have never seen anyone smoke too much weed, get angry, cause a fight and harm another person. At most, they may have a discussion about their disagreement over a pizza or two. It was made illegal because hemp was a threat to the timber industry back in the early 1900’s. That’s all. It should not be illegal in the first place. Changing the laws will solve our issues with prison/jail over-population, not to mention the tax dollars that could be made and the profits that farmers could earn. It is a plant, not a drug. Please treat it as such. I’m ok with this!
Hppy Hippi · Top CommenterIt is not about being for or against cannabis. Rather, it is about cruelty for no good reason. Do you want to put millions of your fellow citizens, many of them your friends and family, into steel cages in a cruel and mean spirited fashion, with no meaningful result, other than just horror and shock??? That is what the prohibitionists promote with fearmongering and lies. It is not about being anti-cannabis, it is about being pro horror show in the Cannabis Gulag, at your taxpayers expense. How long will the public be fooled by propaganda into supporting evil ??? THAT IS THE QUESTION !!!!! The answer??? Just say no to cannabis prohibition by Jury Nullification. It only takes one in twelve, so get on the jury and do your part for America. Not Guilty for every cannabis offender. I agree some what, the PROBLEM we have as a society is…when they use the excuse drugs ruined their life, we support them with welfare and SSI – this needs fixed!
It’ll happen eventually. As soon as the older folks start moving on, and the 18-29 year olds move into their place. It’s a generational thing, I’m sure there’s plenty of older folks who have no problem with ending prohibition, just as there’ll always be youngsters who have been brainwashed into thinking it’s a great evil, simply because that’s what they were taught. Remember folks, Marijuana is Bad because it’s Illegal. Marijuana is Illegal because it’s Bad.I’m more curious as to what the Republicans will do when more and more states enact laws that make it legal for consumption. Which side wins out? The evangelicals, or the States Rights brigade? This is, after all, a perfect example of that dichotomy, with it being illegal on a federal level, but now legal on a state level in Colorado and Washington state. – I believe the data on born-again evangelicals (65 percent) is proof your statement of “As soon as the older folks start moving on, and the 18-29 year olds move into their place. It’s a generational thing.” that you are so wrong…I would say there’s some born agains who will disagree that stem from the 60’s that know differently from “their experience” – the generational thing may be true!, let’s see what you think when you’re older and wiser. Pot was cool in the day, but when you have to face reality, good luck! – Much more has to change in our society before I think marajuana can be legalized. Like I said…Drugs are not for everyone without FIRST being educated on it. Peace out my young friend.
Here are some Prohibitionist Lies (refuted with Facts) you’ll be hearing.Lie #1 Gateway Drug.
FACT Marijuana is NOT a Gateway Drug. Here’s a 12 Yr Univ. Study that says so;.
Andrew Hryckowian – University of Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Raven-… Marijuana is not a.
Lie #2 Marijuana is addictive.
FACT Marijuana is no more addictive and less harmful than Caffeine;.
Dr Henningfield is a former NIDA Staffer;.
Addictiveness of Marijuana – ProCon.org.
…Lie #’s 3 & 4, Marijuana has no Medicinal Use and is Dangerous.FACT In 1988, a DEA Administrative judge wrote, in a report.
Commissioned by the DEA; “16. Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of.
the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any
measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a
supervised routine of medical care.”
FACT For good measure, the CDC reported Med Marijuana doesn’t increase teen use.
It’s time to end this fiasco. Quit playing this stupid game. We are free Americans. Not some children to be coddled and told about ‘the boogey man.’
Anyone in the United States with half a brain sees what a horrible hoax has been carried on since 1937.
Stop locking people up for a plant that could possibly save the US economy. Not to mention its medicinal values. We may be on the cusp of huge breakthroughs in the field of medicine …completely unlike ‘big pharma’ who have been killing thousands of our citizens per year.
Krystal Mawer · Mansfield Senior High Schoolthey should legal it here in mansfield maijana is use for differant things like deppreson, adhd, anxodie, and pain, than i thank that it would cut down alot on pain pills and drinking there will be not to worry about it and we do not have to worrie about people going around here robbing banks or anything else or going around here shooting people the crime around here would not be so bad
Phil Sydnor · N.Y.F.B at N.Y.F.BWe ALL know drugs are not for EVERYONE, I have seen those who can handle them, and I have seen those who can’t. Legalization may be a good point to STOP the madness or hysteria against it. How ever, I think legalizing marajuana would open the doors to feed the frankensteins (crazies) we have in our society. Legalizing as a means of medical would allow for it to be regulated so we know who’s doing it that may have a mental disorder that can be watched closely. Knowing who’s doing what may be a good idea, and minimize how many in Law Enforcement are involved in the movement with those who pay them off. The justice system wants it illegal, it’s a nice snatch and release program (fine & go) that would hurt them dearly if it were to be taken off the books. This users comment cannot be seen, they are censored by the powers that be @ the MNJ.