SIDNEY — The group responsible for getting marijuana on the November ballot in Ohio stopped in Sidney Tuesday afternoon as part of their bus tour, the “Green Rush Tour,” to get the word out about the state’s possible future marijuana industry.
ResponsibleOhio’s bus tour will make more than 150 stops in local communities and college campuses all over Ohio. On Tuesday they stopped in Eaton and Greenville before stopping on Courthouse Square in downtown Sidney.
The group set up informational signs around their bus and spoke to community members about their concerns and the campaign.
The Marijuana Legalization Amendment would add a new section 12 to Article XV of the Ohio Constitution to provide for the legalization of the use of medical marijuana by patients with debilitating medical conditions if a medical marijuana certification has been provided by the patient’s treating physician and the use of marijuana and marijuana-infused products for personal use in amounts of one ounce or less by individuals 21 years of age or older.
Green Rush Bus tour Spokesperson Haley Phillippi said, they really want to get the Ohio voters excited about being able to vote on the issue this November. “We want people to know they have a chance to voice their opinion in November,” she said.
“Legalization will create tens of thousands of jobs, bring millions in tax revenue back to our communities, keep marijuana out of the hands of kids and provide compassionate care for sick Ohioans,” Phillippi said.
She said they’ve heard from Ohioans all over the state from all age groups that they support marijuana legalization. Moms whose young children have severe epilepsy, older Ohioans who have cancer, millennials who are sick of the status quo – not to mention the 750,000 Ohioans who signed the petition to decide on marijuana legalization in November.
On Monday, The Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) joined Ohioans Against Marijuana Monopolies to urge voters to vote no on the amendment.
According to a press release, OSMA sees no healthy lifestyle benefit from using marijuana for recreational purposes. And while there is some clinical research focused on the medicinal benefits of marijuana for specific medical conditions, the OSMA believes additional scientific evidence is needed to fully justify and support the use of this drug as an appropriate form of treatment for specific illnesses.
Ohioans Against Marijuana Monopolies also contend the proposal would put children’s health at risk because it would increase their access to edible-pot products, such as candies and brownies.
“Our opposition is worried about kids and so are we. Our amendment has strict penalties for anyone who tries to sell to somebody under the age of 21. And all our edibles will have child proof packaging and things like that,” Phillippi said.
She said that if educated on the subject, there would be more people in support.
“I think there are a lot of things that people are skeptical about, but if you just take the time to educate yourself you’ll see that this is really good for our state and that people really want to legalize marijuana,” Phillippi said.
Ohioans Against Marijuana Monopolies and a large group of people that are for marijuana legalization, but against this amendment are against it because of the allowance of only ten licensed marijuana growth, cultivation and extraction facilities.
They say it will cement in the Ohio Constitution a billion-dollar marijuana monopoly for a small group of wealthy investors.
According to projections by ResponsibleOhio, legalizing marijuana will be a billion-dollar industry that will bring a total of $2,038,311 to Shelby County and its townships and municipalities in new tax revenue per year to the community by the time the market stabilizes in 2020.
Phillippi said that when the market does stabilize, more than 10 growers will be allowed, 10 is just a starting point based on the research that was done. ResponsibleOhio states that if voters want to change the amendment in the future, they will have the ability.
They ask the question, even if you’re against the “monopoly” of just 10 growers, is the rest of it still not better than what we have now?
Under the amendment people will be able to carry equal to one ounce or less of marijuana or it’s equivalent in marijuana-infused products.
People will be allowed to grow, cultivate, use, possess and share homegrown marijuana in an amount not to exceed four flowering marijuana plants and eight ounces of usable homegrown marijuana at a given time, so long as they have obtained a non-transferable license. This license would be $5o.
It is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana and anyone doing so will be subject to the same rules and regulations that are currently in effect regarding operating a motor vehicle while under the influence.
“I think you just have to look at it that know we have done our research and looked at other states that have legalized marijuana, and we’ve done what’s best for Ohio,” Phillippi said.
The entire amendment can be read at http://yeson3ohio.com/the-amendment/.
Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; follow on Twitter @SDNAlexandraN