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  • Writer's pictureRandy Shaffer

Who Supports Marijuana? Ohio Governor's Race

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

This is the second in a series from Ohio Marijuana Card this 2018 election season. This series will detail the different political candidates running for office throughout the Buckeye State, and what their stance is on medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.

Our first entry explored why cannabis is the best option for candidates hoping to gain an edge over competitors, and why any candidate who passionately advocates for marijuana on their campaign trail will win, no matter what. You can give it a read by clicking here.

For this second edition, we will be taking a quick peek at the two top Ohio gubernatorial candidates, Republican Mike DeWine and his running mate, Jon A. Husted, as well as his opponent, Democrat Richard Cordray and his running mate, Betty Sutton.

Please note: Ohio Marijuana Card does not endorse any political candidate at this time. This series serves to offer history of who is for or against marijuana in Ohio, why they may have that stance, and why it is important to come out in support of legalization efforts.

Republicans - Small Government, Big On Pot?

Historically, the Republican party has been slow to support marijuana and medical marijuana legalization. Nixon is responsible for placing cannabis on the Controlled Substances list as a Schedule I narcotic. And Reagan famously began a decades-long war against drugs that has cost taxpayers quite literally billions and yielded very little results in its wake.

Some of the reasoning for a lack of support among Republican lawmakers is purely philosophical. Some of it is ignorance-based or lobbist/dark money-motivated as well. But a large reason for the lack of support seems to stem from the Republican religious-conservative base. Many Republicans simply think the citizens they represent aren't in favor of pot, medical or otherwise. The cracks in that logic are starting to show, though, as even the spiritually inclined are beginning to support pot.

A recent Pew Research poll conducted on marijuana legalization showed that evangelicals favored pot by 43%, a percentage that grows by a staggering rate each year. Non-evangelicals favored legalization even more, with 64% now approving of marijuana. Catholics are not far behind, either, at 52%. And unaffiliated religious groups are in majority support at a whopping 79%!

In lesser words, as the poll numbers climb in favor of marijuana legalization, Republicans who don't at least begin to recognize the medical (and financial) benefits of legal weed may soon find themselves left behind in a haze of smoke.

Mike DeWine and Jon Husted - The Anti-Pot Boys

So, how do Mike DeWine and his running mate, Jon A. Husted, stack up when it comes to marijuana? Well ... not good, that's for sure!

DeWine and Husted have both publicly stated their firm opposition marijuana legalization. They seem to view the plant as something of a threat, and often twirl themselves into some rather odd logic pretzels in order to justify their stance.

Husted was vehemently anti-cannabis when Responsible Ohio had their bill up for a vote in 2015. He said, in a news conference, “These claims that proponents of Issue 3 [Responsible Ohio] are making that somehow it would be good for the Ohio economy if we legalized marijuana are just flat-out absurd."

DeWine stated that full legalization would "put a star on Ohio and every drug dealer in the country will come here.” He has even gone as far as to promise a veto on any legalization bill that might come across his desk. He claims that other legalization efforts have been an "absolute disaster," especially in states like Colorado, where recreational marijuana has been available for several years.

Though his facts aren't always on the level, his passion for anti-pot rhetoric seems to be stronger than most candidates running this 2018 election cycle. Sadly, he does not seem to echo the recent sentiments of the former Speaker of the House, John Boehner, who joined the marijuana movement in spring 2018 as a member of the advisory board at Acreage Holdings, a major marijuana cultivator.

Democrats - Big Government, Growing Marijuana Support

Democrats are starting to come around on medical marijuana and recreational marijuana, though many are still ridiculously slow to vocally (and confidently) support legalization, especially when election season rolls around. A democratic candidate will often favor a stifled or weak stance on pot in pink states with an even mixture of voters who are Republican or Democrat.

However, just as Republicans have seen an evolution into Trumpism following the divisive 2016 election cycle, Democrats are currently going through their own evolution. There's been a shift toward more progressive, social and science-based issues, like fixing climate change, racial and gender equality, wealth redistribution and working toward bringing scientific innovation back to U.S. soil, which in turn will produce an influx of new jobs.

While many of the more progressive voices in the Democratic Party have voiced support of marijuana legalization, the "old philosophy" Democrats are clinging to their soft stance like a life preserver on a sinking ship. That being said, the Democrats have a rich history of political flip flopping ... and that's not meant as an insult. Rather, Democrats are more prone to looking over an issue and changing their stance based on facts. This isn't always the case, but this trend is fairly evident throughout the party's history.

With this in mind, if Democrats want to remain relevant in this, and future election cycles, they absolutely must take a stronger stance on marijuana reform and legalization, and the stance should be unified and loud. Marijuana is a major issue and support is at an all-time high. Pew Research placed Democratic support for full legalization at 69%! And with independents favoring pot at 68%, a pro-cannabis candidate should be able to gain enough fresh, passionate voters to win an election.

Richard Cordray and Betty Sutton - Promises, Promises

During a recent debate between DeWine and Democrat, Richard Cordray, things got tense when the subject of cannabis legalization in Ohio came up. DeWine criticized Cordray's soft support of cannabis in the past, pointing to his negative view of Responsible Ohio's legalization effort, notably the monopoly element of that bill.

The exchange grew heated as DeWine pressed Cordray. Finally, Cordray shot back with a firm stance. “You have been living in the past and you are still living in the past," Cordray sparked at his opponent "... I will cast my vote yes to legalize it.”

If it weren't for Mike DeWine, however, that stance would have been fairly buried in Cordray's overarching campaign message. He has been softly outspoken about his pro-cannabis stance, but it's never been at the forefront of his campaign promises. Still, a promise in a debate to sign a legalization bill if one comes across his desk is better than DeWine's promise to kill a bill with a veto.

Meanwhile, Betty Sutton has been fairly quiet on the issue, at least on the campaign trail. Her voting record, however, earned her a decent 75% score in favor of marijuana, as scored by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law, or NORML. She has come out more vocally in favor of legalization efforts in recent years.

In a 2017 Q&A the question of legalization came up. Sutton said, “As we’ve seen, marijuana has been legalized in other states successfully, but it would have to be done responsibly. Distribution would have to work for local communities. And revenues would need to be shared with the state and everyday Ohioans, not just a few corporations.”

Who Supports Marijuana Legalization In Ohio?

Next week, we'll dive into the third chapter of this new series and take a look at the Ohio Attorney General race, examining who is pro-marijuana, and who opposes.

We'll be taking a look at the records of Republican David Yost and his opponent, Democratic, Steve Dettelbach.

Also, if you would like to contact your local representatives and tell them that you support medical marijuana, CBD legalization or full marijuana legalization, we've written up this handy resource which walks you through the process.

In the meantime, if you are an Ohioan suffering from one of these 21 medical conditions you may be eligible to treat your ailment with medical marijuana. Click hereto learn more about what Ohio Marijuana Card's state-certified medical marijuana doctors can do for you, or give us a call at 1-866-457-5559 and our friendly support team can walk you through the entire process, and set you up with an appointment.


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