After the overwhelming rejection on Election Day, it’s official: ResponsibleOhio is completely dead in the water. They will not be resurrecting Issue 3 and their original plan for the Fresh Start Act (which would have annulled cannabis convictions) is no longer something to be discussed.
The good news is, while ResponsibleOhio may be done and gone, there is still hope for at least medical marijuana legalization in Ohio. The state House Republicans have created the Medical Marijuana Task Force – a team of doctors, politicians, lawyers, and police.
The Medical Marijuana Task Force will be designated to look into legitimate medical marijuana programs from the 23 states with comprehensive programs in order to start developing the right course of action. They will also be sent around the state to speak with citizens and patients who would benefit to learn more precisely what it is the people want.
It is clear that Ohio voters want medical marijuana legalized as 9 out of 10 voters do support the idea. Unfortunately, they moved too quickly with ResponsibleOhio which would have legalized both medicinal and recreational cannabis all in one shot.
“I don’t think the state is ready for recreational marijuana,” Gould said. “We went from zero to 250 miles an hour and that’s tough in most states. Most states started with medical marijuana.”
Taking things slower when ending prohibition is easier than starting big. It gets people used to the idea of something that was once taboo becoming something that people do openly and regularly. Starting with medicinal marijuana – showing all the benefits and how many people it can help – is what seems to have worked best in the states which have already legalized on a recreational scale.
Gould is a part of the Medical Marijuana Task Force – and he has been absolutely adamant that this is not as a part of ResponsibleOhio – this group is completely new and looking to take things in the medicinal direction through legislature.
In the past Ohio’s state government has tossed around the idea of medical marijuana on a small scale – with laws like are in place in Kentucky and Florida that allow only high-CBD marijuana. However they are aware that these programs often benefit only a small number of patients who could benefit from the plant, leading them to look into a full medicinal legalization plan.
First however, they want to find out as much as they can about what conditions can be helped and what the best way to regulate everything from patients and doctors to cultivating plants and opening dispensaries.
They absolutely want to see this happen – going as far as to give themselves a deadline of March 31st when they will need to have everything wrapped up and ready to hopefully move on to the next phase of building a strong medicinal marijuana industry.
It’s a good thing for Ohio citizens that their state representatives have kept medical marijuana legalization in the forefront of state initiatives. It could have died with Responsible Ohio. They are doing their diligence to determine best implementation practices which is more than can be said for lawmakers in Florida. Ohio, your day will come!