High hopes for marijuana legislation in Ohio are rejected

Karina Castillo, Contributing Writer

Hopes for marijuana legalization went up in smoke in Ohio last Tuesday.

Ohio voters felt that the legalization of recreational marijuana was a premature one, considering the fact that the medical use of marijuana is still illegal in the state.

This discrepancy caught St. John’s freshman Bobby Charalabidis’s attention.

“I’ve noticed that many of the states that have managed to completely legalize marijuana started out with first legalizing medicinal marijuana,” Charalabidis said.

Apart from decriminalizing the use of both recreational and medicinal marijuana, the proposed bill sought to hand wealthy investors full control of marijuana farms.

While many Ohio voters showed some form of support for the legalization of recreational marijuana, many more did not support the monopolizing of the marijuana industry.

The proposed amendment would have placed all of the control in the hands of 10 marijuana-growing facilities, giving them all of the power and right to commercialize the use of marijuana.

Junior Ashley Rodriguez was outraged with the way the wealthy looked to control.

“They couldn’t pass a law that everyone could have benefited from,” Rodriguez said. “They had to try and sneak things in there to make the whole thing ugly. Now,  no one wins.”

If it had passed, the bill would have also allowed licensed individuals the ability to grow, possess and cultivate up to eight ounces of marijuana.

For junior Isaias Bulus, the criminalization of marijuana is something that robs people of a fundamental right.

“I’ve never smoked weed,” Bulus said. “It’s not something that I’ve chosen to not do. Everyone should have the choice to do what they want. If it’s going to reduce the ridiculous number of kids going to jail and help the economy, why not legalize it?”

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, more than half of the nation’s drug-related arrests are for marijuana, with a whopping 88 percent coming from simply possessing small amounts of marijuana.

Despite these setbacks, activists say they won’t stop fighting for the legalization of marijuana. They look to propose changes to the controversial bill, allowing small businesses to get into action instead of a few wealthy investors.