Would certifying Issue 2 destroy Ohio values? No, it would not. In fact, one could conclude that with the passage of issue 2, Ohio would return to core American values of personal freedom and responsibility.
Building on the values of our nation’s founders shouldn’t scare the citizens and families of Ohio. After all, the values taught within your family are up to you, and not through authoritarianism of your government. The stigma of marijuana consumptions has changed immensely over the last few decades, and the choice to consume is completely personal. The harms of marijuana prohibition have had an enormous impact on our society and destroyed families through mass incarceration of Americans, for many times, victimless crimes.
The war on drugs has been incredibly harmful to our community. Although I suspect it’s called the “war on drugs” to convey the image of a evil drug dealer in a crime movie make no mistake, like any war, it has impacted, and continues to impact co-workers, neighbors, and family members. It doesn’t sound so fun to support if it’s called “the war on your uncle and cousins.”
In the year 2022 there were 208,192 people arrested for marijuana possession according to the FBI’s crime data explorer. The real numbers may be even higher, as not all agencies throughout the country report data to the FBI.
Many of us personally know how some of the existing marijuana possession laws can cause a life to spiral and ruin family structures. Once someone’s record is stained by drug charges, the path to gaining employment and decent housing can become nearly impossible, thus thrusting many into the black market and shadows of our society and economy beginning a horribly viscous cycle.
While I believe that there are many other factors of the drug war, and criminal justice reforms need addressed, I hope that those who are tasked with serving and protecting their neighbors can focus on harmful and violent crimes in our communities. I understand that issue 2 is an important step in the right direction, making a simple step forward within the constraints of a ballot initiative.
I encourage everyone to vote yes on Issue 2 on Tuesday November 7th. Let’s make a move against the recent onslaught against our rights and take a step towards returning to American values. Let’s take one step towards the American ideals of personal privacy, liberty, and freedom. Vote yes!
Joshua A Umbaugh
Libertarian Party of Montgomery County Ohio