Ohio to vote on Recreational Marijuana in November
CINCINNATI - 23 states across the US have legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
The debate continues over whether Ohio should be the next.
"This is just a money making opportunity for the marijuana industry and makes it easily more accessible to our families and our kids,” said Warren County Sheriff, Larry Sims.
"We want to regulate marijuana like alcohol, which means you've got to be 21 or older to buy it, 21 to use it, which means we regulate the entire supply chain from seed to sale,” said Tom Haren, spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.
Voters will decide in November on Issue 2. It would allow adults 21 years and older to buy and possess up to two and a half ounces of cannabis.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted hundreds of thousands of signatures to help get the measure on the ballot.
"We know that regulated markets are the best way to ensure that marijuana stays out of the hands of kids, because right now in the elicit market, a drug dealer doesn't check for I.D., they don't care who's buying their product, they don't test it to make sure it's not contaminated with harmful substances,” said Haren.
Haren also pointed to the added revenue the Buckeye State would gain from the 10% tax that would be imposed on purchases.
"What we have tried to do is implement best practices from half the country that's come before us and built upon the success of our medical marijuana regulatory framework,” said Haren.
Sims opposes Issue 2 and is concerned about children finding ways to access the products.
"The number one thing for law enforcement in my opinion, going into that is putting the marijuana directly into the household with families,” said Sims.
Sims doesn't believe legalization would eliminate illegal sales, with the added tax on the product increasing costs and turning people away.
He also raised concerns about people using the products and getting behind the wheel.
"It certainly would make our job more challenging if this would pass, no question,” said Sims.
"We're really looking forward to putting the elicit market out of business this November,” said Haren.
Recreational marijuana has been on the ballot in Ohio before. The measure failed in 2015.