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Montel Williams calls for Ohioans to back legalized marijuana


Talk show host Montel Williams has used marijuana to battle symptoms of multiple sclerosis for 14 years, and he urged Ohioans on Wednesday to pass Issue 3 on the Nov. 3 ballot despite its recreational pot component.

“Yeah, I had to weigh it,” he said. “But I also had to weigh that these people have been working for 20 years to get this done. … If this is the only thing that we can get passed, I guarantee you the state can fix whatever component they need to fix. But we have to pass something so that we can get the patient off the battlefield.”

He plans to be back in Ohio to campaign for Issue 3 but stopped short of saying he will appear in ads to promote it.

A recent Quinnipiac Poll showed general support for medical marijuana at 90 percent of registered voters while general support for the legal use of a small amount of pot registered at 53 percent. A separate Akron Buckeye Poll released this week that asked specifically about Issue 3 had the question tied at 46 percent for and against.

But the two are tied together in Issue 3. TV ads financed by ResponsibleOhio have played up to the medical marijuana strengths. Mr. Williams appeared at a news conference with a Cincinnati mother whose daughter suffers from severe seizures that, she said, have been ameliorated by the use of marijuana in other states, including Colorado, where it’s legal.

Mr. Williams argued that the federal government has been hypocritical for keeping marijuana illegal while funding decades of research for a handful of marijuana users in the nation through a University of Mississippi study.

“I step outside this room with even a tenth of a gram, I can be arrested in this state …,” said Mr. Williams, who lives in New York. “There are people who just want to sell weed …, but there are people in this country who are seriously ill, sick beyond belief. We don’t have the nerve to step into the middle of a convention with one of those people and their doctor on any other issue but this.”

He said marijuana helps to relieve his neuropathic pain and has stopped night spasms from multiple sclerosis.

Opponents of Issue 3, however, have argued that the big money appeal of recreational marijuana, not nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries, is what has appealed to the investors who’ve funded ResponsibleOhio’s campaign.

“There is no fixing Issue 3,” said Jennifer Detwiler, spokesman for Ohioans Against Marijuana Monopolies. “It is a long, rigid constitutional amendment that can’t be fixed by policymakers. Voters know that the bad in Issue 3 outweighs any good.”

Supporters of Issue 3, however, argued that lawmakers proved they could act swiftly when they rushed their own constitutional amendment to the ballot to undercut Issue 3 should it pass. Issue 2 would prohibit the writing of new commercial monopolies into the Ohio Constitution.

If approved, Issue 3 would legalize marijuana for medical and recreational purposes and would build a wholesale and retail infrastructure around the newly legal business. It would write the parcel numbers of 10 investor-run locations, including one on a North Toledo farm, into the constitution.

It would establish a government commission to oversee the new industry and would set new taxes on marijuana and the food, oil, and other products made from it.

Contact Jim Provance at: or 614-221-0496.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by TOLEDOBLADE
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