Ohio lawmaker proposes marijuana legalization

Published: May. 4, 2013 at 1:46 AM EDT
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(FOX19) - Ohio voters could decide whether to legalize marijuana and tax it like alcohol.

Democratic State Representative Robert Hagan of Youngstown is sponsoring the bill.

This isn't the first time the state has looked into legalizing marijuana, but the question is, will this latest attempt gain enough support to see it pass?

A recent poll shows Americans are growing more comfortable with the idea of marijuana use.

Rep. Hagan's newest proposal is similar to an amendment passed in Colorado. Voters would decide whether it's okay to allow adults 21 and older to purchase marijuana from state-licensed establishments.

Hagan believes the revenue generated by a 15% state excise tax could help restore cuts to education and local government.

Rob Ryan is part of a group that seeks to reform marijuana laws, and he says the drug isn't even as dangerous as alcohol and regulating it will make it safer.

However, Mary Haag with the Coalition for a Drug-Free Greater Cincinnati says this is dangerous because she says marijuana is highly addictive.

"We need not to pass this type of legislation. Marijuana directly impacts learning, memory, thinking, and I don't think we want to go down that path," said Haag.

Local resident Bob Ryan disagrees.

"It will be far safer. People would know what they're getting. There will be product labeling. We have no oversight. We have no product labeling. It's fully in control by the thugs and the criminals," argued Ryan.

Hagan's bill lacks support from the majority of Republicans. It will take a 3/5 vote for the legislature to put this on the November ballot.

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