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Efforts Intensify to Legalize Marijuana in Ohio

PHOTO: While several groups are working to legalize marijuana in one way or another in Ohio, a new Quinnipiac University poll finds most Ohio voters favor legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes, and more than half support legalization for recreational use. Photo credit: Petr Broz/Wikimedia.
PHOTO: While several groups are working to legalize marijuana in one way or another in Ohio, a new Quinnipiac University poll finds most Ohio voters favor legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes, and more than half support legalization for recreational use. Photo credit: Petr Broz/Wikimedia.
April 7, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A new poll finds strong support for the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in Ohio, and efforts are intensifying in the Buckeye State to make it a reality.

Responsible Ohio is gathering signatures for a 2015 ballot amendment to allow the purchase of both recreational and medical marijuana from an established industry licensed by the state. Another group, Ohioans to End Prohibition, released the official text of its Cannabis Control Amendment for the 2016 ballot on Monday.

Sri Kavuru, president of Ohioans to End Prohibition, says the amendment differs from other efforts because it would create a free market, while emphasizing patient's rights and public welfare.

"While other initiatives were designed as a sort of investment vehicle to benefit a small group of people," says Kavuru, "our first and foremost concern is making sure the policy was good, that it benefited as many people as possible, creating the maximum benefit of legalization while minimizing the harms that come with it."

According to a new Quinnipiac University poll, 84 percent of Ohio voters support legalization of marijuana for medical use, and more than 50 percent support legalization for personal use.

In addition to full adult legalization, Kavuru says the Cannabis Control Amendment includes a medical program that creates a patient class for medical marijuana patients.

"It's important to look at how medical patients get protected, particularly children," he says. "We need to look at medical marijuana as being something that benefits patients, and make sure the culture of how it is used as medicine is reflected in the law."

Additional organizations in the state are simply backing legalized medicinal marijuana. The Ohio Rights Group is working on getting an amendment on the ballot that would allow for safe access to medical marijuana, and Ohio Patients Cann is working to add language to expand an existing bill that would use the oil derived from cannabis plants for children who suffer from seizures.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH