Voting For Legalization Is Underway In Ohio

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Cannabis nug close-up voting
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — Early voting is underway in Ohio and one of the biggest issues on the ballot is Issue 2.

A “no” vote opposes legalizing marijuana for adult use in Ohio.

A “yes” vote supports legalizing marijuana for adults 21 years old and older.

Issue 2 would regulate recreational marijuana use, including cultivation, processing, sale, purchase, possession, and home growth.

Despite medical marijuana being legal in Ohio since 2016, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol said voting for legalizing recreational cannabis would benefit Ohioans who have needed medical marijuana but have not had access to it.

“The reality is, there are still too many barriers in place for patients who would otherwise be able to participate,” Tom Haren, a spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol said. “Maybe you are a veteran and suffer from PTSD but whose VA doctor, because of federal law, can’t issue a recommendation to participate in the medical program.”

These barriers force those patients to either go to the black market or drive all the way up to Michigan and spend their money out of state,” Haren said.

“For those who have had access to medical marijuana, it has changed hundreds of thousands of lives,” Haren said.

Columbus resident Anthony Riley said a traumatic brain injury he suffered in high school led him to get his medical marijuana card in 2018.

“I had a blowout orbital fracture and the whole left side of my face was messed up,” Riley said. “It’s caused a lot of memory things. You have ringing. PTSD, flashbacks, headaches, sensitivity to certain things, and anxiety.”

Riley said, before he began using medical marijuana to treat his symptoms, he was prescribed opioids.

“Opioids are hard on your liver, they are hard on your body,” Riley said. “They are hard on your mental personality.”

Once Riley was able to get a medical marijuana card, he said his life changed.

“It allowed me to come out from being in my house,” Riley said. “My social life was over. I wasn’t talking to people. I wasn’t seeing friends or family. I just went into a sheltered mode.”

Opposers of Issue 2 said voting for legalization puts people at risk.

“This drug is no longer the marijuana of the 1970s,” Luke Niforatos, the executive vice president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana said. “It’s extremely potent and much more dangerous than we have ever seen it become.”

According to the language in the Issue 2 proposal, it would regulate the cultivation, processing, sale, purchase, and use of cannabis.

Election Day in Ohio is Nov. 7.