Backed by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, State Issue 2 proposes:
- Legalizing and regulating cultivation, manufacturing, testing and the sale of marijuana to Ohioans 21 and up
- Legalizing home grow for Ohioans 21 and up (with a limit of six plants per person and 12 plants per residence)
- Imposing a 10% tax at the point of sale for each transaction
Supporters of legalizing recreational marijuana (the mind-altering drug produced by the Cannabis sativa plant) tout potential benefits like boosting the economy. Although we acknowledge that some benefits of legalization might exist, we must also consider the potential cost.
Unfortunately, the negative consequences of marijuana are not often prominent amid the debate about legalizing this drug for recreational use. The myth that marijuana is essentially harmless and nonaddictive grossly underestimates potential ramifications of widespread availability and use.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, “There is evidence that cannabis may exacerbate or hasten the start of psychiatric illness, particularly in young adults. Among people with depression, cannabis use is associated with increased rates of suicidal ideation and attempts. These risks are higher with more potent cannabis and with longer and more frequent use.”
Further, the American Medical Association does not support legalization of cannabis for adults until further research has been completed to fully understand the public health, medical and economic consequences of its use.
Below, we list some additional negative implications of marijuana use:
- Research suggests that 1 in 10 marijuana users become addicted (and when used before age 18, the risk of addiction becomes 1 in 6).
- Several studies suggest that marijuana use can cause long-term cognitive impairment as well as permanent IQ loss.
- Driving while acutely intoxicated with marijuana greatly increases the risk of fatal motor vehicle collision.
- Marijuana use increases the risk of schizophrenia and psychosis, especially for those who have family histories indicative of these mental health issues (the risk increases even further if marijuana is used in adolescence).
The legalization of recreational marijuana in Ohio would make this psychoactive substance (and the negative impact listed above) more widespread in our state. And, though Issue 2 would legalize the substance for adults, we know this will also translate to further availability of marijuana to adolescents, for whom the drug’s potential consequences can be even more dire.
We ask that you consider the facts above before casting your vote on Issue 2!