Tag Archives: Recreational Use

ResponsibleOhio to File Suit over “Biased” Wording of Pot Legalization Ballot Measure

ResponsibleOhio, the group behind Ohio’s recently-qualified ballot measure aimed at letting the state’s voters decide whether to legalize marijuana for personal use, has announced that it will challenge the Ohio Ballot Board’s chosen legal wording of the group’s proposed constitutional amendment. The group plans to take the matter to the Ohio Supreme Court.

The above-embedded video, published by OhioCapitalBlog, contains comments by ResponsibleOhio spokesperson Jennifer Redman and attorney Don McTigue on the group’s planned legal challenge against what it called “biased” wording meant to discourage voters from supporting the amendment.

The Ohio Ballot Board, which is chaired by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, features 5 members including 3 Republicans and 2 Democrats. According to The Plain Dealer, the wording of ResponsibleOhio’s proposed constitutional amendment passed the board by a party-line vote of 3-2.

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent), a board member who voted against the wording, told WLWT-TV that the board’s choice to characterize the type of marijuana use that would be legalized by the ballot measure as “recreational” rather than “personal” “crosses into editorializing about the amendment.

The board’s wording has also been criticized as giving the impression that it would allow Ohioans to possess and transfer over a half-pound of marijuana, despite the fact that the proposed amendment would only allow possession of up to 1 ounce. However, licensed home growers would be allowed to cultivate up to 8 ounces for personal use.

The Ohio Ballot Board also chose the order of the ballot measures on the upcoming November 3, 2015 general election ballot and opted to place the pro-pot issue question in the third position out of three, following an anti-monopoly-and-oligopoly amendment meant to counter and draw attention to a controversial aspect of the Ohio pro-pot ballot measure — that it only allows marijuana to be cultivated on 10 farms owned by ResponsibleOhio investors, potentially creating a marijuana production oligopoly.

Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice and ResponsibleOhio attorney Andy Douglas said in a statement, “When the Ballot Board prescribes language to ballot initiatives, it is meant to be a neutral, fair representation of the proposal at hand. The ballot language assigned to the Marijuana Legalization Amendment, Issue 3, is clearly biased and gives preference to the arguments of marijuana reform opponents. The language is inaccurate and strategically worded as to misguide voters.

ResponsibleOhio claims that opponents of the measure on the board chose the word “recreational,” which tests poorly in opinion polls, rather than the phrase “personal use” in the amendment in an effort to discourage voters from supporting it.

You buy alcohol you’re going to personally consume it, it’s not recreational, you buy toothpaste, you’re going to personally use it, you’re not using it for recreation, the same applies to marijuana,” said ResponsibleOhio executive director Ian James.

Sec. of State Husted, who claims that “recreational” was the correct word choice because it clarifies that the measure goes beyond just legalizing medical marijuana, said, “In the end, I think the voters in Ohio are going to clearly know what they’re voting for. They are either going to vote to legalize a marijuana monopoly in this state or they’re going to vote to reject it.

In the below-embedded video by OhioCapitalBlog, Husted reacts to ResponsibleOhio’s complaints about the issue question’s wording.

If both the anti-monopoly ballot measure and ResponsibleOhio’s ballot measure were to pass by a majority vote, thus contradicting each other, the amendment that obtains the highest total of votes would take priority over the other. However, the anti-monopoly measure is set to kick in 30 days prior to the pro-pot measure, which Sec. of State Husted said could prove to be a legal roadblock to the marijuana legalization amendment’s enactment.

In September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode exposing the federal government’s mixed messages about medical marijuana. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


Madison, WI Police Chief Endorses Legalization of Marijuana for Recreational Use

In a recent interview with the Wisconsin State Journal, Madison, WI Police Chief Mike Koval called the War on Drugs an “abject failure” and endorsed the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. He bolstered his argument by pointing out the fact that the city’s African American population is being cited or arrested for marijuana offences at twelve times the rate of Caucasians, parroting the concerns of national figures like US senators Rand Paul and Cory Booker, who have been pushing for criminal justice reform in the wake of the drug war’s disproportionate application on the basis of race. Chief Koval said that he believes that taxes taken from marijuana sales should be used to fund drug treatment programs and drug courts to help addicts beat hard narcotics like heroin without facing incarceration.

Chief Koval told the Wisconsin State Journal, “We’ve done such an abysmal job using marijuana as a centerpiece of drug enforcement that it’s time to reorder and triage the necessities of what’s more important now.” He pointed to states like Washington and Colorado where marijuana has been legalized for recreational use as examples of what could be done in Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin, marijuana remains totally illegal, and the state’s marijuana legalization initiatives have gained little political traction so far. Wisconsin did recently pass a bill that allows patients suffering from seizure disorders to possess non-psychoactive cannabidiol without facing criminal penalties, though critics have called the bill legally unworkable due to the fact that it does not provide a way for patients to get their medication legally. On Mother’s Day of this year, 7-year-old Lydia Schaeffer, whose mother lobbied heavily for the cannabidiol legalization bill, passed away from the seizure-causing Kleefstra syndrome while waiting for the bill to be implemented. The state has yet to pass a bill legalizing marijuana for broader medical use, though Wisconsin State Representative Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) introduced legislation to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational purposes earlier this year, so the possibility remains on the horizon.

Madison Police Chief Koval made news earlier this summer when he commented on the clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, MO. In an interview with WISC-TV News 3, seen below, Koval described his strategy for dealing with protests, which differs starkly from what was seen in Ferguson. Said Koval, “You don’t show up in hard gear with riot gear and a facial visor. You show up in soft gear. That way, I think you take the anonymity away from the crowd. You develop yourself as a relational person to the crowd, and in that sense, you’re less likely to see these things go more viral in terms of the proclivity to violence.”

In related news, Ben Swann just released a new Truth in Media episode, which can be seen in the player below, exposing the truth about politicians’ mixed messages on medical cannabis. The episode, which primarily concerns the fact that the government denies the efficacy of cannabis as medicine while owning the patent on medical cannabis, features discussion on how some state governments like Wisconsin are legalizing cannabidiol but not legalizing other psychoactive forms of medical cannabis, thus under-serving sick patients who need treatment.