DCDP Endorses Issue 2

The Delaware County Democratic Party voted Oct. 19 to endorse state Issue 2. The issue, “to commercialize, regulate, legalize and tax the adult use of cannabis,” is on the November ballot. Early voting has begun; Election Day is Nov. 7.

Party Chair Peg Watkins said the issue was endorsed by the local party’s executive committee after a discussion that examined both sides of the issue. A pediatrician cautioned that cannabis poses risks to children and teenagers; others pointed out that currently illegal sale and distribution of the substance is more likely to adversely affect those populations. A cancer survivor said while medical marijuana is legally available, the process is complex and expensive. A lingering stigma also makes some patients who are entitled to medical marijuana reluctant to avail themselves of it. Caregivers stressed the benefits of cannabis for treating patients in pain or those with little to no appetite.

Still others remarked that marijuana is classified as a dangerous drug when it is neither addictive nor dangerous. The criminalization of cannabis has led to imprisonment for possession, often with devastating consequences. Cannabis today is what alcohol was during Prohibition, some meeting attendees said: widely available, but created, distributed, and sold by individuals unencumbered by laws and guidelines.

Legalizing marijuana would give Ohio the tax benefits of a popular recreational substance and allow laws and law enforcement to control its use. A criminal defense attorney in the room noted that marijuana possession and use are now considered minor legal violations; legalizing its sale and use would bring the law into line with the prevailing attitude.

The vote to endorse Issue 2 just missed being unanimous, Watkins said. “I am proud of our local party for endorsing this issue. Current laws and policies do not make sense. Moving in this direction is positive for many reasons,” she said.