What’s the rush? Let’s wait.
That was what Jim Joyner, founder and director of Joyner and Associates and an independent chemical dependency counselor clinical supervisor, urged residents Wednesday at a forum opposing Issue 3.
ResponsibleOhio, the group pushing for an amendment to the Ohio Constitution at the polls Nov. 3, wants to legalize medical and recreational marijuana for anyone 21 years or old.
“I’m not sure if Issue 3 is in the best interest of Ohio,” Joyner said. “In the United States, we are in the most unique position in the world. We are the most drug-oriented society on the face of this Earth.”
He said Ohio still can’t control residents’ alcohol or tobacco use.
“We already have this issue that’s far out of control,” Joyner said. “To me it’s sure idiocy that we would legalize another potential addictive psychoactive substance and then rub those two wrongs together and then call it a right.”
If Issue 3 is approved, Ohio would be the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana and the fourth state where it is availble for recreational use.
Joyner said passage would make Ohio the first state to approve medical and recreational use at the same time.
ResponsibleOhio would open five testing and 10 research facilities near colleges and universities across Ohio if the state issue is approved by voters. Lorain County is the only one in the state expected to have both types of facilities, but the locations have not yet been decided.
Jennifer Shepherd, founder of Parents for a Healthy Colorado, recently moved to Ohio after living four years in Colorado, where cannabis is legal for all uses by adults.
Shepherd said it’s nice to be here and not in a state that smells like marijuana.
“It’s never been easier or more enticing for anyone, especially our youths, to get ahold of some form of marijuana and use it without anyone noticing it,” she said.
The ResponsibleOhio proposal would allow licensed residents to grow up to four flowering plants at home. Sales of home-grown pot would be prohibited.
If pot is legalized, children will be exposed to it, Joyner argued.
“It’s ludicrous to say this will be regulated,” Joyner said. Police are not going to go door-to-door checking each resident’s plants.
Shepherd said when she lived in Colorado, people could be seen sitting all over town together smoking marijuana. One of her children told her he wants to smoke when he gets older.
“They’re not afraid of it,” she said.
“It’s bad for our kids, it’s bad for our neighbors, it’s bad for our communities, it’s bad for the tax base,” Joyner said. “It’s bad for Ohio.”
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.
Photos by Valerie Urbanik | Civitas Media
Jennifer Shepherd, a physcial therapist and mother, talks about her experience living in Colorado when marijuana was legalized.