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Government and Politics

Orlett of the Drug Policy Alliance sees a liberalizing in Ohio of attitudes
Quinnipiac Poll results on medical marijuana don't surprise him, but Ohio remains a long-shot

Jo Ingles
Colorado has legalized not only medical marijuana, but recreational used. Ed Orlett says Ohio isn't ready yet, despite recent Quinnipiac Poll results.
Courtesy of CREATIVE COMMONS Brett Levin
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The latest Quinnipiac Poll shows Ohioans approve of legalizing medical marijuana by an 8-to-1 margin. Ed Orlett with the Drug Policy Alliance has been fighting for medical marijuana for more than a dozen years. In an interview with Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles, Orlett says he’s not surprised by the results of the new poll, though such proposals have been bogged down in the Legislature.

LISTEN:Orlett and Ingles on Ohio attitudes toward marijuana

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Orlett: Ohio had to catch up eventually. It’s been a gradual trend that seems to be accelerating and it will be very exciting to see what happens from here. And of course we are trying to promote it and encourage medical marijuana with more open mindedness of marijuana in general.

Ingles: Do you think these numbers will have any effect on Ohio getting an issue on the ballot to allow medical marijuana?

Orlett: I don’t see that happening this year or next year. 2016 would certainly be a possibility. I don’t think, God bless him, that Rep. (Bob) Hagan’s efforts to get a ballot issue by the Legislature will be viable. And there are so many other states where there isn’t the conservative hold that Republicans have here that make them much more attractive for resources (and) contributors to support Ohio. At some point, all of these other easier states will have gone and people will be looking around saying, “Gee, why haven’t we done something in Ohio?”

Ingles: Do you think that’s what is driving these numbers – the fact that we are seeing some states legalizing marijuana and not having huge problems immediately with it?

Orlett: I think that’s a factor plus there seems to be a general overall liberalizing trend. We see that with gay marriage. … I think it’s just people’s attitudes but unfortunately, the Ohio Legislature doesn’t get that.

Ed Orlett of the Drug Policy Alliance says he’s continuing to work on criminal justice issues and sentencing reforms and his organization wants to continue to push nationally for what he considers better drug policies.


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