Q: What is cannabis?
A: Cannabis refers to any plant of the genus Cannabis, of which the most popular species are Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. Common names are marijuana and hemp.
Q: Why do you want to make it legal?
A: There are many people who produce, use, sell, and buy cannabis all over the world. Although we are taught that it is a dangerous drug, many government studies have suggested otherwise. Marijuana has never been listed as the primary cause of death in recorded history, unlike alcohol, cigarettes, skydiving, water, peanuts, and many pharmaceutical drugs.
Making it legal for adult use would lighten the burden of the courts, jails, and prisons for those in Ohio that safely use cannabis and are otherwise upstanding citizens. This would also enable Ohio law enforcement officers to focus their attention on more violent crimes.
Finally, legalizing commercial production of cannabis would create a huge market for Ohio. Marijuana, raw hemp, and manufacturing of many hemp products would boost the local economies and give farmers a new, economically viable crop that also helps revitalize the soil.
Q: What about people who drive or operate heavy machinery while using marijuana?
A: We are deeply concerned about the safety of everyone on the roads and at their jobs. When someone has been drinking and driving / working, field sobriety tests are the first step to determine intoxication. If the results are not conclusive, they may be given a breathalyzer test.
Cannabis, however, may stay in the system for weeks after the intoxication has long passed, making it virtually impossible to determine intoxication based solely on the presence of cannabis metabolites in a person’s urine or blood. For this reason, we feel that the only viable way to determine current intoxication is by a field sobriety test.
If a person is driving or working under the influence, there are other clues to look for. We feel that once cannabis becomes legal in Ohio, law enforcement and employers will still be able to effectively do their jobs of ensuring safety without drug testing for some arbitrary amount of cannabis metabolites that wouldn’t prove intoxication, anyways.
Finally, if we look at Marinol, which is synthetic THC (the intoxicant in marijuana), they say that “You should not drive, operate machinery, or engage in any hazardous activity until you know how this medication affects you and until you are sure you can perform such tasks safely.” Since it is 95% THC and cannabis has at most about 30%, we fail to see why it can’t be treated the same way.
We are not advocating for driving high, but the science shows that “stoned” drivers are no more prone to accidents than sober drivers. This fear-driven idea that they must be tested is just not based on science and only serves to persecute people without justification. Cannabis policy should be based on science and facts, not old-world reefer-madness propaganda.
Q: Who would be allowed to grow cannabis?
A: Any adult would be able to grow up to 24 cannabis plants, provided they own the property or have permission of the property owner where the cannabis would be grown. They would not need a license to produce or sell cannabis until they have sold an amount equal to the standard federal tax deduction for a single taxpayer in a given tax year, which this year is $6,200, and then, the license fees would not be automatic. The legislature must draft the commercial licensing requirements or they will not apply. Also, the licensing fees that they may impose will have a cap of $1,250 per year in combined total for each cultivation or retail site. Commercial growers would have no limit on the number of plants they would be allowed to grow.
For those concerned that this is too much, we would ask that you show us real world harms caused by cannabis (aside from prohibition), because as hard as we looked, we can’t seem to find any of real significance that haven’t been debunked. This is not to say that it has no harms, but in comparison to virtually everything else, cannabis is clearly a safer than alcohol, pills, even some foods as no one has ever died from a cannabis allergy (I’m not sure if I’ve ever even heard of such an allergy). Cannabis has never harmed society as much as prohibition has. One need only look at NY City, which has less bars than it had “speakeasies” during alcohol prohibition. I think we can all agree that ending alcohol prohibition was the best course of action, despite its real-world harms on individuals and society. Ending cannabis prohibition, which has medical benefits and minimal, if any, real harms, is the best course of action today, because just like alcohol, prohibition has proven that you can’t arrest your way out of a drug problem.
Back to the original question, if the property owner doesn’t want people growing at all, or only a few plants, they can stipulate that in the rental / lease agreement and it would be legally binding. Certainly most, if not all apartment complexes will say “no growing.” Some of our supporters will be upset with this, but property rights are just as important as any other, and having properties seized by the feds because of a tenant is a situation we dare not force anyone into.
The idea of letting everyone grow their own is intended to be interpreted as “grow as you please, but if you want to grow it to sell, you’re going to have to get your corporate license in order to do so legally.”
Q: I have a marijuana conviction on my record that prevents me from getting financial aid, a good job, and/or my driver’s license. Would it be fair to me to keep this on my record if cannabis were to become legal?
A: No, it wouldn’t. That’s why we have included the ability to have all cannabis charges dismissed and expunged from your permanent record, if they involved cannabis activities that our Amendment would make legal. This includes release from jail, prison, parole, and probation if the person is only in that position JUST because of “marihuana” charges – any sentencing for concurrent charges NOT associated with cannabis would be unaffected.
Q: What about taxing cannabis?
A: We have had suggestions to allow no taxes, and we have had suggestions to allow excessive excise or “sin” taxes. Our initiative is not for “tax-free medicine” nor a dangerous, “sinful” substance that would harm society, so we decided to meet in the middle and allow sales taxes to be collected at the prevailing tax rate, similar to many other commodities in Ohio.
We feel that this is less restrictive than what has been proposed and enacted in other states, and that it may discourage the legislature from passing their own Ohio Constitutional Amendment to allow some taxation, had we not. If we allowed no taxes, that would have given the legislature an excuse to tamper with our Amendment, and they would likely make other unwanted changes if given that opportunity. We would have preferred to not include any taxes, but this was a compromise in an effort to avoid legislative tampering, and we think that it’s acceptable.
Currently, the tax rates in Ohio vary between 6.25% and 7.75%, depending on which county you are in. Our hope is that once we legalize cannabis, Ohio will produce enough that the supply will meet the demand, creating market norms of $250 / oz or less.
Some examples of current sales taxes below:
A $100 purchase becomes $106.25 – $107.75 after taxes.
A $250 purchase becomes $265.63 – $269.38 after taxes.
A $500 purchase becomes $531.25 – $538.75 after taxes.
Q: I hear that cannabis may be dangerous and can be harmful to individuals and society, in general. Why do you ignore these possible dangers
A: Simply put, stating that cannabis “may” be dangerous is not good enough to warrant prohibition. People’s lives have been ruined because it “may” be dangerous, and the harms of prohibition greatly outweigh any alleged harms from cannabis. We have a new research page where we have provided links to some of the most credible research relevant to cannabis, as an effective medicine and as a safer alternative to other well-accepted substances.
Q: Sounds great! How can I help?
A: Please join us! We are not asking for donations. What we really need are volunteers to collect signatures. If you would like to help, it is important that you follow ALL of the instructions on our Amendment page and that we know which county you are in and how to contact you. We’ll respond to any questions posed anywhere on the site, email, Facebook page, Facebook Volunteers group, snail mail, or phone call, though recently we have been overwhelmed, so if we don’t get to your individual concerns in a timely manner, please look over our blog for your answers and be patient – we will get to you.