GREENVILLE — People driving down Broadway in Greenville late Tuesday morning may have happened upon a blue and green bus festooned with the phrases “Yes on Legalization” and “Legalize Ohio 2015.”
The bus is part of ResponsibleOhio’s efforts to convince Ohio’s voters to vote “yes” on the Marijuana Legalization Amendment this November 3.
ResponsibleOhio is a marijuana advocacy group and author of the ballot measure which would set up 10 marijuana-growing facilities as well as establish distribution shops within the state. It would also allow those 21 years of age and older the ability to legally use marijuana and grow their own plants, with some restrictions.
The bus, bearing the title “The Green Rush Bus Tour,” is traveling through all of Ohio’s 88 counties to promote the measure.
Haley Phillippi, spokesperson for the group, said the organization seeks to have a “conversation” with voters.
“Change is coming in November,” she said. “We are speaking with people about the measure, giving them a good chance to let them know what it’s all about.”
She added, “We want people to have a better understanding about marijuana reform, that it’s time for that to come to Ohio.”
One point of contention among the ballot measure’s critics is that the amendment would create a monopoly on the growing of marijuana. Phillippi sought to counter this claim.
“We’ve done extensive research on other states that have legalized marijuana, to see how they did things there,” she said. “While there would be a limited amount of growers in Ohio, they would all be competing against each other. We’ve found this is the best way for the state to regulate the industry initially.”
“Once the market stabilizes, it could be opened up for new producers to emerge,” she added.
ResponsibleOhio also promotes the initiative as beneficial toward job creation and added income for municipalities.
The group projects that, for the state, legalizing marijuana will be a billion-dollar industry. Of that, it contends that legalization will bring $2,120,191 in new tax revenue per year to Darke County by the time the market stabilizes in 2020.
Regarding the group’s visit to Greenville, Phillipi said, “It was great to be in Darke County today. Legalization will create tens of thousands of jobs, bring millions in tax revenue back to our communities, keep marijuana out of the hands of kids and provide compassionate care for sick Ohioans.”
Darke County was one of the tour’s first stops on its itinerary. The bus first visited Eaton, Ohio, Tuesday morning before heading north to Greenville. It planned to visit Sidney, Ohio, before heading to locations in the southern part of the state.