September 21, 2015

Christine Link, executive director of the ACLU of Ohio, provided the following statement regarding State Issue 3—marijuana legalization in Ohio.

“The Board of Directors of the ACLU of Ohio recommends citizens vote yes on Issue 3 when they go to the polls November 3.

“The ACLU has opposed criminalization of marijuana from the early onset of the so-called ‘War on Drugs.’ The extreme regulation of marijuana has led to nothing but misery and injustice. Marijuana prohibition and its partner, ‘War on Drugs,’ have contributed to mass incarceration for non-violent crimes and left the inevitable illegal supply chain for marijuana in the hands of violent criminals. Millions and millions of dollars later, we are all the worse off because of the punishing prohibition on personal and medical use of marijuana.

“By voting yes on Issue 3, Ohio voters have a unique opportunity to end an unjust and unworkable policy. Ballot initiatives are expensive and difficult to achieve in Ohio. Marijuana reform legislation was first introduced in Ohio 18 years ago. Many efforts to get on the ballot have failed. This may be our last chance for years to come.

“Issue 3 needs to pass on Election Day because its failure may well mean another 10 or 20 years of the same bad policies of excessive punishment, a justice system clogged by marijuana prosecutions, lives ruined by prison, and marijuana in the hands of illegal, unregulated, and dangerous cartels.

“By voting yes on Issue 3, Ohio voters will begin to move our state away from senseless, wasteful drug prohibition toward a system that is supervised, safe, efficient, legal, and operating under regulatory oversight.

“Now is the time for marijuana reform. Vote yes on Issue 3 starting October 6 for early voting and on Election Day, November 3.”