More of 21 News interviews on marijuana legalization debate - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

More of 21 News interviews on marijuana legalization debate

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Additional Quotes - Both Sides of Legalization

State Rep. Bob Hagan has also proposed a medical marijuana bill. The decriminalization bill needs 3/5 of the legislators to put it on the Ohio Ballot as a Constitutional Amendment for a vote.

 State Representative Bob Hagan - (D-OH)

"You have someone who has two strikes against them and they're desperate to find a job, and they get picked up for smoking pot. That's enough for them to lose their freedom and go back to jail. Believe me, there is an incredible cost. Do taxpayers want these individuals thrown in jail for just smoking pot for their own enjoyment, instead of for stealing, or robbing or doing something else?"

"I can name you a whole generation who came through the Vietnam War, Civil Rights Movement. They haven't moved on to heroin. If it's a gateway drug that would mean 100 million people that smoked marijuana would have moved on to heroin and other drugs. It's a ridiculous argument that doesn't hold any weight."

"The bottom line is I don't want to see people going to jail for non-violent reasons because it's costing taxpayers a lot of money."

"I wouldn't want to someone operating heavy machinery under the influence, or my surgeon, or truck drivers. I am subject to zero tolerance. I cannot have a drink 8 hours prior to me going to work and they do spot check me."


Ken Macpherson LEAP Member – Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

"No legitimate business man will risk a fine or trouble by selling something that he is going to make a profit on to a member of society we don't want them sold to. So as long as they are prohibited, they will be sold to children."

"We have had a member of our family overdose and that person could have been saved. The other person who was with him had a warrant out for their arrest so she didn't call for help and he ended up dying. Another relative ... they found his body stuffed under the bed of a hotel. A lot of deaths occurr and you don't hear about them and it's an epidemic. If drug use were legalized people could get help for addiction."

"Prohibition is a failure and lets admit it like 3 out of 4 people believe it is, and lets move beyond that failure and start talking about a new system for dealing with this problem."

"If you commit a crime against me for theft assault, rape, or murder and if you happen to be an addict at the time, you should still be jailed. If you'rre just an addict them there shouldn't be criminality associated with a disease or a personal problem when you're not hurting anyone but yourself and your family."

"I am still antidrug but I am now antiprohibition."

 Lt. Jeff Solic – Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force

"You're still going to have black market sales. We still have a black market for cigarettes and alcohol and we tax and regulate that. Legalization will only fuel a burecratic machine."

"Simple possession is a minor misdemeanor. 100 grams is just like a first offense speeding citation, so making them a criminal ... I don't think simply getting caught or charged makes them a criminal using an illegal substance makes them a criminal."

"Just look to recent media reports about companies trying to find qualified applicants who can't pass a drug test. Nine out of ten is one of the figures of applicants who can't pass a drug test, so yes, maybe someone won't smoke themselves to death of an overdose, but do I want someone smoking marijuana in any industry."

"Traffickers here in the Mahoning area are establishing contacts in California and Michigan and other states where marijuana use has been legalized for medical use. It has driven up the price of marijuana and created a market place for the designer marijuana. Money from here is being laundered and sent out west so it opened a whole new revenue stream for organized crime."


Jeff Orr, Trumbull Ashtabula Group

"Organized crime is already moving in. Right now our task forces are buying marijuana from other states where it has been legalized, so it's not going to help Ohio. You're still going to see a black market. To say we're going to tax and regulate it and we're not going to see the marijuana coming from Mexico is wrong. A black market will still exist."

"Most of the people who smoke pot in Ohio don't want the government taxing it at all. They want to be able to grow it in their backyard without any inteference by the government. To have them say it's goign to be used to fund some other programs is riduculous. You're just going to have to spend more on treatment programs to deal with addiction. Marijuana stays longer in your system than any other drug. It's just going to make societal problems worse."

"Over 90 percent of the houses we raid and search on warrants for hard drugs have marijuana in them. We can clearly see it's a drug kids start on. It's a drug kids feel safe using because thier peers are starting with it, so they will experiment with marijuana as a starter drug thinking they'll never take the next step to a harder drug. I've seen the devestation to families. We all have kids."

"I've heard Rep. Hagan say we send people to prison for simple possession, but that's not true at all. We target drug traffickers."

Trumbull Prosecutor Dennis Watkins

"As a matter of public policy to legalize marijauan will create more problems not less. I see it all the time in crimes. People are commiting murders and they're often on marijuana and other drugs. I believe marijuana is a gateway drug to other drugs."

"When I became a prosecutor in the 1970's the penalty for marijuana was 20 to 40 years. Ever since then the penalties have lessened. They have come to a point where they are a misdemeanor."

"I'm not saying you dont have a problem. I'm not saying it's not a public health problem. You do need treatment and drug courts, but to create another larger problem by legalizing marijuana is not the problem."

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