Ohio’s Munchies: Issue 3 and Marijuana Legalization

2 years ago Alger Mag Editor 0

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As many of you know (or, rather, knew, but it recently escaped from your short term memory,) Issue 3 – or, more specifically, the Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative – is set to appear just in time for Thanksgiving (I know what I’ll be thankful for) on the November 2015 ballot. This is a product of the hard work (between the occasional nap and trip to Cici’s Pizza, Pasta and Dessert Buffet) of such groups as ResponsibleOhio, having diligently collected over 700,000 signatures for their cause. Activist groups like these are merely a means to a greater end; solving what is inarguably the greatest issue facing America today – how to get stoned legally. While ResponsibleOhio’s altruism must be applauded for championing such a great American cause, the group’s efforts have produced an interesting side-effect (besides the predictable dilated pupils): inspiring intrigue into amongst young Ohioans to get involved in the legislative process. In fact, ResponsibleOhio has succeeded in signing-up between 4,200 and 5,600 new voters weekly.

Undoubtedly, this side-effect has unexpectedly become the greatest effort to mobilize voter registration since Richard Nixon’s campaign to do so in the early 1970s. As America can never forget, Nixon famously issued a warning to all non-registered, voting age citizens. Outlined in this warning, non-registered citizens were to receive (via mail) a portfolio of scantily clad photos of the ever charismatic Nixon, in various positions and degrees of undress (photo cred to: Vice President Spiro Agnew), should they fail to register. Alas, the tastefully lighted photos of Tricky Dick’s pale, flabby body were only enough to incentivize an average of 2,400 voters per week. This was, of course, not enough to get the silent majority off of their turnip trucks for the 1972 election, leading Nixon to turn to an “alternative strategy” to defeat McGovern.

The movement for marijuana legalization ultimately leaves many Ohioans wondering, “Is this really the best use of our legislative time?” The explanation is rather complicated. The short answer is of course, but if one were to reason it out, however… well, shut up. As George Orwell might say, the reasoning makes sense if one tries not to think about it. Sounds simple enough – let’s try it out.

Take, for instance, the issue of marriage equality, where, until the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of same sex-marriage, Ohio was one of 14 states “holding strong” against the wave of secular, ultra-liberalism. The champions of this wave? Granola-crunching, Birkenstock-wearing states such as Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Alabama, West Virginia, South Carolina and Utah. Should Issue 3 pass, Ohioans will be able to employ their God-given right to enjoy a drum circle legally, meanwhile the Supreme Court’s decision is still being argued, nationwide, by cultural “mavericks,” such as Kim Davis, that love between two people of the same sex should not be enough to consummate a marriage. Proponents of Issue 3 suggest that, upon the amendments passage, Ohioans will effectively be able to “chill out,” and thus will align themselves with the more LGTBQ-tolerant, progressive states, like Alabama.

Alternatively, one may consider an economic approach. Currently, among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Ohio ranks in as: 20th highest in unemployment, 27th highest in debt per capita, and 19th lowest in Median Household income, with 16% of Ohio’s population living below the poverty line. Many supporters of Issue 3 believe that these problems, too, will magically vanish in a puff of smoke through the economic sorcery of drug laws “biggest supporter,” Ronald Reagan. Reaganomics, or more specifically, the Reagan-era concept of trickle-down economics, championed the ideology that some increase in money somewhere in the economy will help out somewhat, possibly. Of course, being citizens of the year 2015, one is granted the retrospective advantage of reflecting upon Reagan’s incredible presidential “success”; it is no wonder supporters of Issue 3 are confident in the economic gains associated with marijuana legalization. Especially when one tries not to think about it very hard — it’s Reaganomics, baby.

Hashing out the economic theories behind Ohio’s marijuana legalization is one thing, but empirical comparative data is another entirely. Instead of entering a discourse into the likely rise in economic standards, one is much better situated in evaluating and analyzing economic actualities. For this purpose, it is necessary to consider outside states with quantitative data — there is no question that ResponsibleOhio has considered these numbers in formulating their political agenda. Pictured below is a chart of the available data as it pertains to economic growth since the 2014 enactment of Colorado’s recreational legalization bill.

Colorado's Economic Patterns Following Legalization of Recreational Marijuana***
Colorado’s Economic Patterns Following Legalization of Recreational Marijuana***

 

As you can see, there are obvious, tangible benefits to the legalization of recreational marijuana use. Ohio may, however, follow a slightly different trend as Issue 3 contains a constitutional amendment which would, for all intents and purposes, create a monopoly. And as we all know from playing the classic Parker Brothers family board game Monopoly, everybody wins (especially the consumer), and leaves the table with the bonds of friendship stronger than they ever were before.

Yes, readers, it is true that marijuana legalization’s curative power transcends the social and economic plights that ail our society. It is believed to offer solutions to such problems as worsening air pollution, declining education standards, to smallpox, mumps, and even baldness. Indeed, it is a miracle of modern medicine. But don’t just take my word for it; advocates for marijuana legalization are going to great lengths to make their voices known. One Ohio public high school graduate commented on a local news website’s coverage of the campaign to legalize in regards to its medical applications:

“[marijuana] wood help with the pain god put it hare for a resin ware do you thank it came from it wood help people with arthritis and bad backs nee pain and nick pain purple tunoe [(carpel tunnel?)] and muscular aches.”

And, writing as an individual who suffers from excessive nick pain and an occasional bout with purple tunoe, I can sympathize with this totally lucid statement.

It is difficult to predict at this point how this legislative movement will hold up come November. Will supporters of Issue 3 celebrate in a blaze of glory, and if so, will the economy heal itself like a limb-regenerating salamander? Or will this measure fail, its’ members reduced to sleeping through re-runs of That 70s Show, unable to remember how they ended up on the Democratic Party’s mailing list? One thing is for certain: come November 3rd, Ohioans will be at their polling places, munchies in hand.

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by Tyler MacDonald

***NB: Chart intentionally left blank. This article is meant to be taken facetiously.

(photo credit: Brett Levin, flickr.com)