Gov. Jared Polis meant it as a joke, but Ohio’s Mike DeWine has long maintained he won’t legalize cannabis under any circumstances.
If you can’t beat them, might as well hypnotize them. That was the joke Colorado Gov. Jared Polis made over the weekend in a Reddit Ask Me Anything session. Polis, who has hosted several AMAs, used the opportunity to answer questions about Colorado’s COVID-19 response, opening state parks again in Colorado, and more.
Polis also answered several drug policy questions, including a specific request from a user.
“Can you convince my governor here in Ohio to allow recreational marijuana?” user Pioneer411 asked Polis.
“Sure, at the next National Governors Assoc. meeting I will hypnotize him and plant the suggestion deep in his psyche,” Polis responded.
While clearly a joke, the suggestion speaks to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s intransigence against marijuana legalization. Marijuana advocacy group NORML gave DeWine an “F” score on its annual NORML gubernatorial scorecard, citing the governor’s public position against the legalization of cannabis. DeWine re-asserted this stance in January as nearby states like Michigan legalized.
“It would really be a mistake for Ohio, by legislation, to say that marijuana for adults is just ok,” DeWine told the Statehouse News Bureau.
Ohio has a medical marijuana program through H.B. 523 that allows access to patients with qualifying conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, PTSD, chronic pain, and more. But 30% of registered patients haven’t purchased anything at an Ohio dispensary, complaining program rules inhibit them from purchasing what they need.
The criticism led to a recreational marijuana drive in the state and organizers submitted a petition to the Attorney General earlier this year. The petition was rejected, due to its language and lack of support. Advocates have until July to change the amendment proposal and gather more than 440,000 valid signatures.
Another Reddit user asked Polis whether marijuana tax revenue would subsidize the accumulating costs to the economy amid the pandemic.
“Hardly at all, it’s just a tiny part of the overall economy,” he responded. “But yes we are grateful for every penny to fund our schools.”