Home Money ResponsibleOhio rolls into town, is met by protestors

ResponsibleOhio rolls into town, is met by protestors

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ResponsibleOhio, the group behind the marijuana legalization bill on the ballot this November, stopped in front of Baker Center on Thursday to gain support for its cause as part of its Green Rush Bus Tour.

For the first time for those on the tour, protesters came along with them.

ResponsibleOhio is working to convince people to vote yes on Issue 3, an initiative that would amend the state constitution for Ohio to legalize marijuana. Supporters of the bill think it would only benefit both the state of Ohio and its residents.

Michael McGovern, the self-proclaimed “bus coordinator” for the tour, is one such supporter.

“Passing (Issue 3) will create 10,000 jobs in Ohio,” McGovern said. “It’ll bring in billions of dollars in tax revenue, and it’ll provide all the proven medicinal benefits of having marijuana.”

Those who oppose the issue are not necessarily against the legalization of marijuana, but instead are concerned that amending the constitution in such a way will create a monopoly.

As it currently stands, the bill allows for ten growing sites to be created across the state. It also allows for individuals over the age of 21 to “grow, cultivate, use, possess, and share up to eight ounces of usable homegrown marijuana plus four flowering marijuana plants” with a license, according to the bill.

Don E. Wirtshafter, an attorney based in Athens, was one of about a dozen protesters who came out to stand against the issue. He said Issue 3 was a “problematic” initiative that wouldn’t benefit the state in the long run.

“What they’re doing, by giving the rights to these ten companies, is creating a monopoly,” Wirtshafter said. “They put in the most minimal home-growing provision possible. It’s criminal for us to be jailing people over a plant, and while it’s really important that we work together to create an initiative that will fix the problem, (ResponsibleOhio) is putting out a proposal that just isn’t good for the citizens of Ohio.”

Students walking by the bus and demonstration had mixed feelings about the event.

Ben Davis, a senior studying environmental health science, said although he was in favor of the legalization of marijuana, he doesn’t think Issue 3 is the best way to bring it to the state.

“It’s just a bad bill,” Davis said. “It’s only going to make people want to grow it more on their own, but now they won’t be able to without a license. It also hurts small farms that would want to grow it — they won’t be able to.”

Some students see marijuana as a topic that goes far beyond recreational use. Abigail Gore, a freshman studying pre-professional biology, thinks that marijuana has medicinal benefits as well.

“I get very bad migraines,” Gore said. “My family does too, so it’s genetic. I think marijuana could definitely help, even if only for that purpose. I think it could really make things better for us.”

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