By Wayne Allen
ResponsibleOhio launched a statewide “Green Rush” bus tour this week, aimed at informing Ohio voters on advantages and benefits of legalizing marijuana. The tour will travel through all 88 counties in Ohio, and stopped at Shawnee State University on Wednesday morning.
“Yesterday (Tuesday) was our first day out and this (Shawnee State University) is our first stop of the day,” said Haley Phillippi, ResponsibleOhio spokeswoman.
ResponsibleOhio is promoting a Marijuana Legalization Amendment to the Ohio Constitution. If approved by Ohio voters the amendment would legalize marijuana for medical use and personal use by adults 21 and older.
When asked why the voters of Scioto County should vote in favor of this Phillippi said, “They should vote for this because it’s time. Year after year there’s been a failed prohibition in Ohio. It’s time Ohio voters have a chance to do what they think is right.”
Phillippi acknowledged there are critics of the issue.
“The critics should educate themselves and get a feel for what we’re all about. Start a conversation with us, so they can get a better understanding of why marijuana legalization is coming to Ohio,” Phillippi said.
If approved by Ohio voters the amendment would call for the product to be taxed at 15 percent. Of the tax revenue 55 percent would go to cities, villages, and townships on a per capita basis, 30 percent would be distributed to counties on a per capita basis and 15 percent would finance a new state commission to regulate and license the industry, new nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries, mental health and addiction programs, and related research by Ohio universities and nonprofit organizations.
Earlier this year ResponsibleOhio released a report detailing how much money Ohio and local communities could receive if the initiative would be approved by Ohio voters.
The report shows that the legal marijuana industry would produce $554 million in new annual tax revenue for Ohio once the market stabilizes in 2020. County and local governments would receive $476 million, with the remaining $78 million going toward programs such as addiction prevention services, compassionate care for medical patients, regulation enforcement, and research on marijuana.
ResponsibleOhio compiled a similar report for each county in Ohio. According to their report, it’s estimated Scioto County would receive $1,277,074 annually, and the municipalities within Scioto County would receive $1,924,923. In total $3,201,997 would come to the county.
On Tuesday, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted set the marijuana legalization amendment as State Issue 3. ResponsibleOhio has voiced some concerns over the language assigned to the issue. The organization has vowed to take the matter to the Ohio Supreme Court, seeking new ballot language.
“As is our right under the law, we’ll file an action with the Ohio Supreme Court for ballot language that better reflects our proposal,” said Andy Douglas, ResponsibleOhio Legal Counsel in a released statement.
For more information about ResponsibleOhio visit, responsibleohio.com.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT