Quinnipiac University Polling survey reveals Ohio support for making possession of small amounts of marijuana legal for adults
Overwhelming 8-1 majority support allowing adults in Ohio to legally use marijuana for medical purposes
A survey conducted by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute on February 12-17 shows 51 percent of registered Ohio voters support allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Only 44 percent of those polled were opposed.
Support for medical marijuana was even higher, reaching overwhelming numbers. When asked if adults should be able to legally use marijuana for medicinal purposes, 87 percent responded that they should, with only 11 percent opposed.
These results are indicative of a national shift in opinion away from marijuana prohibition and toward regulation and control.
On January 1, adult Colorado residents were able to purchase marijuana legally from regulated businesses for the first time, and Washington retail establishments are expected to open within months. Voters in both states decided to make possession of up to an ounce of marijuana legal for adults aged 21 and older in November 2012, and since then, at least 15 other states have considered similar legislation.
“In many parts of Ohio, especially the southeast part of the state where I served, growing marijuana is quite common,” said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and a former Vinton County prosecutor. “The climate and ground are well-suited for it, and with so many manufacturing jobs having left the state, growing marijuana offers a viable income in hard-hit areas.
“Instead of wasting law enforcement resources on raids and busts that never seem to have an impact on marijuana’s price or availability, we should follow Colorado’s lead by taxing and regulating marijuana,” Riffle said. “Let’s bring this industry above-ground and create much-needed jobs for Ohio’s economy and millions in tax revenue for a product that’s significantly safer than alcohol and already being grown and sold throughout the state.”
Rep. Bob Hagan (D-Youngstown) has introduced two marijuana-related bills that are currently under consideration. HB 153 would allow seriously ill patients to use and grow small amounts of marijuana with a recommendation from their doctors, and HJR 6 would let voters decide whether to make marijuana legal for adults and establish a taxed and regulated system to control cultivation and sales similar to alcohol.
Both of Hagan’s bills received hearings in 2013, but neither has been given a date for a second hearing. Medical marijuana is currently legal in neighboring Michigan, and is being considered in the Kentucky Legislature as well.