Drug Law

Political Cowardice in Ohio and Beyond: Scared of Medical Marijuana

| by NORML

Well, the headline pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

Most Ohioans support medical marijuana, pollsters say, but state lawmakers shy away
via The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Ohioans of all races, income levels, educational backgrounds and ideologies tell pollsters that they support allowing Ohio doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients.

But Gov. Ted Strickland and most Ohio lawmakers don’t.

So a medical marijuana bill introduced last week by Rep. Kenny Yuko and a handful of House Democrats has pretty much already gone up in smoke, despite what most Ohioans may think.

Let’s review, shall we?

Last week House lawmakers introduced HB 478, the Ohio Medical Compassion Act, which would allow state-authorized patients to possess and cultivate cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

This week, a statewide poll conducted by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati, found that 73 percent of Ohio adults favor the measure.  This survey result comes on the heels of a nationwide ABC News/Washington Post poll showing that 81 percent of all Americans support legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Nevertheless, lawmakers have made it clear that they are willing to buck this public opinion out of some inexplicable fear that to not do so is “political suicide.”

Excuse me, but since when is it ‘political suicide’ to endorse a measure that over seven out of ten of your constituents say they support?

Virtually every state and national poll on record shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans back legalizing medical marijuana, and several recent polls indicate that a slight majority of voters also support broader legalization for personal use.  Yet a majority of politicians still believe that it is a viable position to oppose such reforms on the antiquated notion that to not do so would invite a ‘public backlash.’

Well, it is time to tell these ‘flat Earthers’ that they are wrong.

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating — now more than ever: Marijuana law reform no longer a political liability; it’s a political opportunity. If your politicians aren’t getting the message then it is time to spell it out to them — in the only language they know: votes.

It is time to let them know that opposing sensible marijuana reform is political suicide, and not the other way around.

So why not visit NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ and tell them!