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Opinion: Vote yes on legal marijuana

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This November, Ohio voters will be able to vote on one of the best opportunities for reform in this state, one that has some of the most far-reaching implications and is one of the biggest issues of our generation. I’m talking about Issue 3, which is the effort led by Responsible Ohio to make marijuana legal both for medical and recreational purposes. Rather than go the route of 23 other states and D.C., which legalized medical marijuana first, Ohio is going for the full package in one go. With many laws, there can be doubt and opposition. But with ResponsibleOhio, when all the facts are laid out, the benefits will greatly outweigh the negative effects.

One big issue this will help address is the failed War on Drugs. Despite this war going on now for over 40 years, a recent study by the University of Michigan found that marijuana usage among college students is the highest it’s been in over three decades. The Pew Research Center even says that almost half of our nation’s population have at least tried marijuana. This is despite one of the most common arguments against even trying it is to call it a “gateway drug,” an assumption that has been disproved on multiple occasions. There’s even evidence from studies that has shown that compared to legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco, marijuana is far less harmful.

Another huge benefit of marijuana legalization would be the amount of tax revenue legal marijuana would bring into our state. In the first five months of 2015, legal recreational marijuana brought in $44 million in tax revenue to Colorado, one of two states that voted to legalize it after the 2012 general elections. The revenues will only keep getting higher; imagine what this revenue would look like in a larger state like Ohio. If our elected officials are smart, they will use this money to improve our schools, speed up construction projects and maybe even make tuition at public universities more affordable.

The only major argument against legalizing marijuana is the monopoly this legislation gives to investors of the campaign. This is, unfortunately, one of the few thorns in the legislation. But with an industry that had already proven fruitful in other states, it’s not surprising numerous wealthy people want to profit off this. Yet as I said at the beginning of this article, the costs and benefits need to be compared side by side. We can end prohibition of marijuana in Ohio with this legislation, and the state will gain all of the benefits listed above and then some. This monopoly is a price worth paying for major change in a broken, arbitrary system that has done more harm than good.

This is what anyone reading this should do: make sure you’re registered to vote at your current Ohio address, and make sure on November 3rd, vote yes on Issue 3. This is one of the turning points in our country’s history and part of the positive change millennials are already bringing nationwide. Vote yes on this issue so you can be a part of history.

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One Comment

  1. Aarde

    September 7, 2015 at 11:48 PM

    ResponsibleOhio guarantees the financial gains of this massive industry will go exclusively to just a few people and only their marijuana will be legal. No one else will be able to share great deal of wealth to be gained. When this idea was sold to ResponsibleOhio investors they were told it would give them complete control over a multi-billion dollar a year industry and you can be certain they will go to great lengths to maintain that control.

    In 2016 there will be another initiative on the ballot for total legalization, Ohioans To End Prohibition. This has a much better chance of success because it is a presidential election year when liberals are more likely to vote. Most importantly there will be no monopoly and marijuana will be legal at roughly the same time ResponsibleOhio would take affect. If you’re going to end a terrible and destructive system, don’t replace it with another.

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