“With more marijuana stores than McDonald’s in the state, our children could easily be exposed to marijuana just walking to school”
COLUMBUS — The Ohio School Boards Association, Buckeye Association of School Administrators and the Ohio Association of School Business Officials announced Monday their opposition to State Issue 3, a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana.
The public education groups said they share the concern of Ohio’s children’s hospitals that the wide-open nature of the amendment threatens the health and safety of young people and will have a negative impact on student achievement.
The proposed amendment seeks to legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational use. It would allow adults 21 and over to buy marijuana and would establish a network of 10 authorized growing locations around Ohio.
Passage of the amendment would make Ohio a rare state to go from entirely outlawing marijuana to allowing it for all uses in a single vote.
“As a proposed constitutional amendment, Issue 3 poses a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ choice to Ohioans,” said OSBA Executive Director Richard Lewis. “This sends the wrong message to young people and poses an actual danger, as has been reported in other states that have legalized marijuana.”
Kirk Hamilton, BASA executive director, expressed concerns about the more than 1,100 retail marijuana stores allowed for under the proposal, and by the high personal possession limits.
“With more marijuana stores than McDonald’s in the state, our children could easily be exposed to marijuana just walking to school,” Hamilton said. “Allowing adults 21 and over to possess the equivalent of more than 500 marijuana joints is hardly a ‘limit.’ Some of this marijuana will fall into the hands of our young people.”
OASBO Executive Director David Varda noted that Issue 3 has deceptive restrictions on the location of marijuana stores. The proposal says stores cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a school, playground, day care center, library and certain other locations, but only if those locations existed prior to Jan. 1, 2015.
“Under Issue 3, it will be legal to put a marijuana store right next door to any new school building or playground,” Varda said. “This is particularly troubling for growing school districts that are managing expansion by adding new buildings or repurposing existing structures.”
OSBA, BASA, and OASBO are urging their members to vote NO on Issue 3.
On Monday, in response to a large, statewide TV placement by Issue 3 investors, the following statement was issued by Jen Detwiler, spokesperson for Ohioans Against Marijuana Monopolies.
“After failing to win the support of key constituencies and elected leaders, a small but wealthy group of Issue 3 investors has launched a major television ad campaign.
“This expensive attempt to buy their way into Ohio’s constitution can’t hide the fact that a few wealthy people are trying to corner the market on what they hope will be billions of dollars’ worth of recreational and medical marijuana sold in Ohio.
“Children’s health advocates, hospitals, doctors, addiction counselors, faith leaders, mental health professionals, parents, educators, law enforcement officials, farmers, chambers of commerce, leading business groups, and Democrats and Republicans are working at the grass roots level across Ohio to defeat Issue 3, which is seen as an unfair money-making scheme that threatens Ohio children and families.”