Pot Plan Changes

ResponsibleOhio, the group that wants to establish ten growing sites throughout the state, is loosening up that requirement.

ResponsibleOhio's Lydia Bolendar says a provision will be added to its proposal that would allow Ohioans to grow up to four small pot plants for their own personal use.

"The amendment will limit the number of plants and it will require individuals to have a permit from the marijuana control commission. And it will put in place other precautions including having these plants in an indoor location and secured and not accessible to anyone under 21."

Critics of Bolander's group say it sets up a marijuana cartel in the state constitution that will allow a few people to have control over what could be a multimillion dollar operation.

"Leaving our amendment silent on this issue was going to create confusion and was going to make it more difficult for us to safely regulate marijuana in the future. By putting in a specific mechanism by which individuals have the freedom to grow their own and do so safely, we think that this is going to be even more likely to pass."

But Tonya Davis, who is working with a different marijuana legalization effort, says this addition into ResponsibleOhio's amendment isn't enough to convince her to stop her own plan from going forward. For starters, she says it wouldn't allow Ohioans to grow enough cannabis for their own personal use, especially if they are using it for medicinal reasons.

"To only be able to possess one ounce I don't think is the way to go because folks that would make ointments, folks that would make tinctures, folks that would make creams, foods, juicing it….it is going to take more than the one ounce."

Davis says she thinks Ohio farmers, not ten financiers, should be the ones to benefit from growing cannabis crops. And she thinks Ohioans should have the opportunity to choose the strains of pot they prefer. Davis says the process for making home brewed beer isn't as complicated as this plan for allowing home grown pot plants. She wishes Ohio lawmakers would pass a marijuana legalization plan that they could control instead of allowing Ohio voters to make a change to the state's constitution that would put the control in the hands of a few.

Davis "So yea, I still have a problem with that. It just doesn't seem like the right way to go for Ohio. If you are going to legalize it, legalize it."

But Marcie Siedel of the Drug Free Action Alliance says legalizing pot is a bad idea.

"We have things that we need to consider - public safety, we need to consider the workplace, productivity and the safety at the workplace. We need to think about our youth and when we legalize something like that, it becomes more accessible for our young people. And they will have a tendency to use it more which is really dangerous on a developing brain. So nothing about this is good. And no matter how they slice and dice it and make changes to it, this is a bunch of people who want to make more money and line their own pockets and do it on the backs of the public health for the state of Ohio."

ResponsibleOhio's Bolander says this change will require her group to start the process of gathering petition signatures over again. But she says that shouldn't pose a big problem. ResponsibleOhio still intends to put its issue on the ballot this fall.

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