(Youngstown) - Two proposals at the Statehouse would legalize marijuana in Ohio. State Rep. Bob Hagan, a Youngstown Democrat, says he thinks voters should be allowed to decide whether or not Ohio should follow the lead of Colorado and Washington and fully legalize the plant.
Hagan says the "war on drugs" is lost when it comes to marijuana.
"It's absolutely a waste of time. We have people in jail for drug abuse that should be in some sort of treatment," he said.
His proposal, House Joint Resolution 6, would legalize marijuana and tax it. It mirrors Colorado's law.
“With billions upon billions spent on the war on drugs with little progress to show for it, it is time for more sensible drug policy in this country,” Rep. Hagan said. “The new revenue the state receives from a marijuana tax could go a long way in restoring cuts to public education and our local governments. Such a significant question should be answered through a constitutional amendment on the ballot. This issue deserves a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ vote by the people.”
HJR 6 would allow adults 21 or older to legally purchase, cultivate and use cannabis recreationally. Marijuana could only be sold by licensed establishments registered with the state, and would be subject to a fifteen percent excise tax.
Hagan said House Bill 153 would allow patients with certain chronic conditions to use the cannabis to treat their ailments. A patient would first need to become a registered qualifying patient with the Ohio Department of Health, and must receive written certification from their physician stating that the patient would likely receive therapeutic benefit from the medical use of cannabis. If passed, Ohio would join the District of Columbia and 18 other states in approving medicinal marijuana.
“In addition to the studies that show marijuana to be a valuable treatment option for chronic pain, nausea and seizure disorders, I have heard countless stories of how cannabis has made a difference in the lives of people who are sick or dying,” Hagan said. “This is an issue that receives overwhelming support from Americans - Democrats, Republicans and Independents. It is time for Ohio to pass medicinal marijuana and stop punishing people who are sick and in pain.”
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