A couple of state representatives want to decide on Ohio marijuana legalization before voters get a chance to do so for themselves, and their preference is to make it as limited as possible. Their preference is to legalize marijuana solely for the medicinal treatment of seizure disorders, and nothing else.
This is actually a bipartisan proposal, put forth by state Rep. Wes Retherford, a Republican from Hamilton, and state Rep. John M. Rogers, a Democrat from Mentor-on-the-Lake. The Columbus Dispatch did a big ol’ feature on their proposal, House Bill 33, but failed to mention either of their names in it.
From the Dispatch piece:
Sources say legislators want to create a more restrictive alternative to legalizing marijuana in Ohio than what is being proposed by private, for-profit groups as a way to undermine those approaches.
One option is passage of House Bill 33 — a proposal that would legalize cannabis-derived medicines for those with seizure disorders — either in its present form or by slightly expanding it.
Another option is a legislatively initiated ballot issue that would legalize marijuana for medical purposes but in ways far more restrictive than those proposals being discussed.
Either of those legislative options, theoretically, would make the prospect of defeating a well-funded proposal by for-profit groups easier, sources said.
That well-funded proposal is from Responsible Ohio and would legalize marijuana for persons 21 years and older, and allow individuals to grow four plants themselves, while writing large-scale manufacturing at 10 grow sites throughout the state into the Ohio constitution.
There are a variety of other proposals on the table as well in Ohio, at various stages of the process, which Plunderbund wrote about here.
Rogers has been fairly low-key this year and I have to say I’m baffled why he would sign on to this dumb-headed power play by the legislature. Nevertheless, he has, and is woefully misguided in doing so.
Retherford, meanwhile, is having himself one helluva Spring 2015. He told the Dayton Daily News last week that if he was allowed, he’d “defend his home” with an intercontinental ballistic missile.
A mortician’s assistant, Retherford did not elaborate under what circumstances his personal home defense might require the 3,400-mile deployment of a thermonuclear warhead.
I sympathize for his Hamilton neighbors, no doubt on eggshells wondering when Wes might mistake their out-of-town cousin as some sort of cat burglar, break out the old Minuteman III, and treat the block to an up-close lesson on hydrogen fusion.
Hamilton might then finally earn its exclamation point.
I was tickled to find Wes’ comment April 24 to the Cincinnati Enquirer on the issue of same-sex marriage, where he said that the General Assembly could do nothing because it was up to the voters to decide. Up to the voters, what a novel idea, Wes.
“Ohioans voted to have an amendment added to the state constitution that stated marriage is one man and one woman, and until the people decide to change that amendment, the Legislature’s hands are tied.”
What a small-d democrat Wes is. The people get to decide, you see? It’s up to the voters. Except when it isn’t, right Wes?
We don’t have to worry about equal protection under the law, or, for that matter, the protection of a minority population against infringement of their rights at the hands of the majority. It’s up to the voters and the legislature’s hands are tied. Wes has no role to play.
But when it comes to the voters deciding for themselves whether or not they can legally possess and ingest the budding flowers of a plant, well, that Wes cannot abide.
It is he, the freewheelin’ Wes Retherford who shall decide who can toke up and who cannot. And don’t you dare question him, pothead, or he might be sending an intercontinental ballistic missile your way.
David DeWitt is a writer and man of sport and leisure based out of Athens, Ohio. He has also written for Government Executive online, the National Journal’s Hotline, and The New York Observer’s Politicker.com. He can be found on Twitter @TheRevDeWitt.