Bills to Legalize Pot Introduced at Statehouse
Updated: Thursday, May 2 2013, 08:18 PM EDT
COLUMBUS (Ken Hines) -- The possibility of legal marijuana in Ohio came a step closer to reality on Thursday, when a lawmaker introduced two bills aimed at ending the state's prohibition on pot.
The first of State Rep. Bob Hagan's (D-Youngstown) proposals would legalize marijuana in the state for medicinal purposes, while the second would give Ohio voters the chance to decide if pot should be legal for recreational use as well.
Hagan believes public sentiment is strongly behind medicinal marijuana, saying 70-percent of Ohioans support its legalization. The representative believes recreational use should also be permitted because the drug war is proving to be a losing battle.
The representative said taxes derived from marijuana sales could help fund law enforcement and rehabilitation programs for more serious drugs, such as heroin and methamphetamine.
Hagan says the public's fear of marijuana has dropped sharply, as has the belief that it is a gateway drug.
Eighteen states and the District of Columbia allow marijuana use for medical purposes. Two states, Colorado and Washington, permit recreational use of pot.