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Cleveland Attorney Leads Effort for Full Legalization of Marijuana

a photo of marijuana products on a Denver store shelf
JO INGLES
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
In Colorado, marijuana is legal, something Cleveland attorney Tom Haren wants to see happen in Ohio.

Ohio’s medical marijuana program has been fully operational for a year now, but participation in the program has lagged behind projections based on neighboring states. Now there’s a move afoot to put an issue on the fall ballot that would legalize marijuana outright. 

Cleveland attorney Tom Haren represents a group wanting to legalize marijuana and regulate it like alcohol.

“Full legalization in Ohio is a matter of when, not if, so we tried to put an amendment together that made sense in 2020,” he says. 

Haren says Ohio’s medical marijuana program is not working for many people who want the drug to help with health conditions. He says this proposed amendment would still allow the state to regulate the product.

The group has filed its amendment with the attorney general’s office, the first step in the process. And if it is given the green light by the state to circulate petitions, supporters of the plan will need to collect 443,000 valid signatures by July 1st.

haren_cut_on_reforms_.mp3
Haren discusses reforms for marijuana laws.

“It doesn’t feel like there’s a willing partner in the state to make reforms. So what do you do? Do you continue to get reforms when you are not able to get anywhere and instead do you take the next step and do what 11 other states have done and implement an adult use program?”

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.