Ohioans, don’t be swayed by pro-marijuana TV ads

There are a couple of slick TV commercials that are designed to convince voters of Ohio that the legalization of marijuana would be a good thing and would be good public policy.

However, we would urge television viewers – and readers of the literature being mailed to households in the state – to beware of drug pushers bearing gifts.

The push to legalize pot in Ohio is being led by ResponsibleOhio, an umbrella organization funded by a small group of so-called investors who will reap huge financial benefits if State Issue 3 on the November general election ballot is approved

It is noteworthy that while the commercials and other advertising paid for by ResponsibleOhio PAC tug at the heartstrings by featuring a family that has moved to Colorado so the child can have access to marijuana to treat her medical condition, and a former captain of the vice unit in the Cincinnati Police Department, there are many more individuals involved in health care and law enforcement who are stridently opposed to legalization.

Indeed, former Capt. Howard Rahtz’s contention that marijuana reform will make for a safer Ohio brought this response from the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio.

“This proposal would make the daily challenges of our jobs even harder,” said FOP President Jay McDonald. “How can we keep children safe when adults can legally possess significant quantities of marijuana at home within easy reach, or when marijuana retail stores can operate within a stone’s throw of a newly built school or day care? Issue 3 is a nightmare for the law enforcement community.”

The police organization noted that the constitutional amendment proposed by Issue 3 would authorize the possession of up to 9 ounces of marijuana for adults 21 and over – 8 ounces of home-grown marijuana and one ounce of commercially purchased marijuana – which would allow a heavy recreational user to maintain a 16-month supply at home.

Beyond those compelling reasons there’s one that ResponsibleOhio and other proponents are attempting to avoid like the plague: Issue 3 would authorize in the Ohio Constitution a drug monopoly – cartel – of investor groups. They would own the 10 mega marijuana farms in 10 counties and would have total control over the commercial production of the drug.

There are billions of dollars to be made, which means they will reap the benefits of their investments many times over.

As for the TV commercial featuring the family with the little girl who needs marijuana for her medical condition, we would be more receptive to their pleas if Issue 3 were exclusively about medicine. It isn’t. The sale of weed for recreational use is how the investors are going to make their billions.

So, here’s a suggestion for those who believe that legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes is good public policy: Defeat State Issue 3 on Nov. 3, and then push for a constitutional amendment to permit medical marijuana.

It would be tightly regulated and overseen by the state, with only specially licensed physicians able to prescribe the drug.

It would be safe to say that many of the opponents of Issue 3 would become supporters of legalization for medicinal uses only.

— Youngstown Vindicator