CLEVELAND — Issue 2 will appear on the November ballot and would legalize and regulate recreational marijuana in Ohio for adults aged 21 and above. While the debate continues, a new poll from Fallon Research shows that 59% of Ohioans do support legalizing recreational use of the drug.
Galenas is one of the cultivators that took part in The Ohio Cannabis Health and Business Summit (OCHBS) this weekend. Christine DeJesus is the director of cultivation at the company, and oversees every single one of the cannabis plants at the facility.
"As the plant starts to wrap it up basically and finish or ripen finish its life cycle these stigmas will start to turn orange and you can see a few of them," she said.
As a grower, DeJesus has been in the cannabis industry in Ohio for five years, and she said she’s always been interested in the social justice implications of marijuana laws.
"Seeing people that I knew get arrested for cultivating marijuana or getting charged with possession of marijuana and having their lives turned upside down because of that got me involved on the advocacy side," she said.
In November, voters will vote on whether recreational marijuana will be legalized across the state. DeJesus said she's seen people benefit from using cannabis over the years and wants to see Issue 2 pass.
"It always seems unjust to me that a certain plant was prohibited to be grown especially if the plant particularly medicinal or therapeutic for humans," she said.
She said people in Ohio are already going to Michigan to purchase adult use cannabis which is impacting the economy.
"By legalizing in the state of Ohio, we will keep all of that money in our state and we will also then put that money toward important things to rebuilding the infrastructure of our state versus rebuilding the infrastructure of Michigan," she said.
DeJesus said she's sharing her experience where she can ahead of the November election, even moderating a discussion at the OCHBS.
As November gets closer, DeJesus has high hopes that criminalizing those who cultivate and use marijuana will soon be a thing of the past in the state.
"We haven’t had adult use legalization on the ballot since 2015 so I think there has been a lot of support and anticipation that this will be our year," she said.
There are people who oppose Issue 2, including the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and Gov. Mike DeWine. The governor said today's marijuana is more potent and worries legalizing recreational use sends the wrong message to youg people.