COLUMBUS, Ohio — State Issue 2 would regulate, legalize, commercialize and tax the adult use of recreational cannabis. The legislation was the main topic at a public forum hosted by Spectrum News 1 and The Columbus Dispatch Wednesday evening.
The main points of conversation concerned economic impact, public safety and health. The panel included two supporters: Rep. Casey Weinstein and Thomas Haren, who is with the Cannabis Law Group. Audience members also heard from the opposing side. Sen. Mark Romanchuk and Corrinne LaMarca, who is a national spokesperson for the group Parents Opposed to Pot, also served on the panel.
LaMarca got emotional during the discussion bringing up concerns around public safety. She shared the story of her daughter, whose life was taken by a driver under the influence of marijuana. She said no matter how much money the issue brings the state, it cannot put a dollar sign on someone’s life.
“There is nothing good about putting marijuana out in our community and putting the stamp of legalization approval on it,” LaMarca said.
Thomas Haren, on the other hand, believes the issue would not increase crime but instead increase the amount of law enforcement officers available to focus on higher-level crimes.
“Crime actually goes down and clearance rates for law enforcement, meaning the number of cases investigated, in close, goes up because they don’t have to waste their time prosecuting low level marijuana offenders, and they’re now freed up to investigate and prosecute those more serious offenses,” Haren said.
Currently, Ohioans need a medical marijuana card to purchase and use any type of marijuana. You can watch the entire forum at 11 a.m. Sunday on Spectrum News 1.
Early voting starts on Oct. 10.