Editorial: Stop the stall, legalize marijuana in Ohio

He was just a boy of 15, addicted to marijuana. “Yes, I remember. Just a young boy… under the influence of drugs… who killed his entire family with an axe.”

That’s an over-the-top line from among many from the 1936 anti-marijuana propaganda film “Reefer Madness.”

Opponents of medical marijuana weren’t predicting mass murder would be the result if legislators approved legalizing it in Ohio. But there were dire warnings of dire results if it happened.

People would quit their jobs.

They would line up at dispensaries.

There would be a massive demand for medical marijuana.

Life as we knew it would cease to be.

But now, four-plus years later, none of that turned out to be true. Dispensaries aren’t overrun and there is no massive addiction to medical marijuana across Ohio communities.

Today there are now two separate efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Ohio.

Last week two Democratic lawmakers in the Ohio House introduced a bill to legalize recreational marijuana. House Bill 382 would allow Ohioans to purchase and use marijuana and cultivate up to 12 plants.

The measure would levy a 10% excise tax on marijuana sales, with money going to public schools along with road and bridge construction. In addition, up to $20 million would be used for clinical trials to see if marijuana can be used to treat veterans and prevent veteran suicides.

Also last week, an initiative petition asking for enactment of a law “to regulate and control adult use of cannabis” with the signatures of 1,000 Ohio voters was submitted to the attorney general’s office. It’s the first step in a renewed citizens action to put the question on the ballot.

One supporter expressed confidence the Ohio General Assembly will approve recreation marijuana. Another one said it was “inevitable.”

We say get on with it. It’s time to move past the myths in “Reefer Madness.”

— Sandusky Register, Aug. 5