Ohioans divided on legalizing marijuana
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, December, 17th 2012 by THCFinder
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.
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