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July 21, 2015: Since a major group is pushing to see marijuana legalized in Ohio, WKYC checked in with Coloradans to see how the measure worked there. (Photo: Thinkstock)
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Lessons from legalizing marijuana in Colorado

Jul 23, 2015

 

WKYC -   CLEVELAND -- Since a major group is pushing rather hard to see marijuana legalized in Ohio, WKYC Channel 3 checked in with Coloradans to see how the measure worked there.

Colorado is one of four states, along with Washington, D.C., in which "weed" is legal for recreational, not just medical uses. The state became the first in the union to make the drug legal.
 
The Ohio Secretary of State declared the group 'ResponsibleOhio' came up about 30,000 signatures short in its attempts to put a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana on the ballot this coming election cycle.
 
Trevor Hughes, a reporter for USA Today based out of Denver, followed the marijuana measure from its inception as a ballot initiative to its adoption and full employment as the law of the land.
 
WKYC Channel 3's Hilary Golston asked, "As someone who has covered this extensively… if you could choose one thing that you would say has been the biggest trouble for you there with the legalization of marijuana, what would that be?"
 
"I would say it would honestly be our reputation... this really didn't change much in Colorado," said Hughes. "People in Colorado voted to legalize marijuana because, frankly, they were using it."
 
Hughes says the state endured a bit of fun on the part of comedians as pioneers of legal marijuana.
 
"We became for a while the butt, the laughing stock of many comedians, lots of politicians around the country... around the world," said Hughes.
 
Overall he says, "Things didn't really change much for us."
 
Hughes says it's still unclear what impact legal pot has had on crime.
 
"That's something we just don't have a good sense of yet," said Hughes.
 
Denver Police Commander William Nagle says he has seen some deleterious impact from legalizing marijuana, but he has also seen some positive results.
 
"The number of people entering treatment for marijuana increased. The number of accidents involving marijuana has increased, but also a big slump in the commercial real estate market disappeared," said Nagle.
 
Nagle says it's nearly impossible to find warehouse space in Denver, because of the commercialization of marijuana which has been on the whole a good thing.
 
Nagle spoke to a group of Northeast Ohioans at the packed sanctuary of Chagrin Falls' Federated Church. Chagrin Arts hosted the event.
 
His best advice for Ohioans is being as clear as possible about the law people like him will have to enforce.
 
"I would try… to take away as much as possible the ambiguities... to make it so that you know what's allowed and what's not," said Nagle.
 
An everyday Coloradan, Lori Wright, spoke with Channel 3 while visiting Cleveland.
 
"It's free market so anybody can get into the business… anybody can be a grower or retail, all you have to do is apply for a licence," said Wright about Colorado.
 
Wright worries about the way the most well-publicized effort by ResponsibleOhio is being undertaken.
 
"The way you're doing it here in Ohio, it's a monopoly and in a monopoly no one can get into the business but the people who are putting it on the ballot... end of story, not fair," said Wright.
 

“If you choose to consume, please do so responsibly.”

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