YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Thursday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine stopped in the Valley to encourage voters to just say “no” to legalizing marijuana ahead of November’s election.
Mike DeWine met reporters Thursday morning at the Mahoning County Justice Center, flanked by Sheriff Jerry Greene and several local chiefs of police.
They all spoke against State Issue 3, which would legalize marijuana use, as well as permitting growth of the drug at ten sites around Ohio.
DeWine’s visit follows a recent trip to Colorado, which has already legalized pot. He claims that state has seen a significant jump in fatal car accidents and incidents where children ingest candy and other foods with marijuana in them.
DeWine said police officers there told him that the bill would not give officers more time to deal with other crimes.
“I asked the police officers in Colorado that, and they just laughed at me,” DeWine said. “They say it’s much more complicated than it was even before it was passed.”
Issue Three would change the Ohio Constitution to allow marijuana use for any purpose and specify where it can be grown and processed in the state. DeWine said he learned the weed is now turning up in all sorts of products, including candy, which he says can be indistinguishable from the real thing.
And DeWine said despite legalization, police in Colorado are still dealing with black market sales of pot, something that isn’t sitting well with local authorities who are already combating a statewide heroin epidemic.
“Where you have a black market drug operation, guns and violence follow, and those are the things that we fight everyday,” DeWine said.
Sheriff Jerry Greene said he’s seen research from both Colorado and Washington where pot is also legalized, and claims driving-under-the-influence and fatal car crashes tied to marijuana use are up in both states.
The group Responsible Ohio campaigned to put the initiative on the ballot, and others have expressed support for the measure, saying it would create a safe, regulated market for pot.