As more and more primaries continue to cast America’s future into a million different shades and more debates continue to cast Donald Trump’s manhood in a million different sizes, political issues may seem to have taken a distant second place behind cults of personality in the hearts and minds of American voters. The Seattle Times, for example, ran an enthusiastic endorsement of Bernie Sanders, but neglected to mention cannabis in the text, despite the fact that Washington State is a beacon of legalized cannabis’s tax potential and Bernie is the most vocal proponent of legalization in the presidential race. The big picture is in focus for the masses, but a thousand small screens flicker in the background. Through it all, however, progressives and cannabis advocates all over the country continue to assert legalization as one of the many issues the country needs talked about before the election, fascinating as the Donald’s ball bag no doubt is.
The rub in this case is that there are two competing initiatives receiving consideration in Ohio. One would give the state the best medical cannabis law east of Nevada, allowing patients of the age of majority to determine their relationship to cannabis and use it as they see fit. Industrial hemp would be allowed to be cultivated and processed by any Ohioan and drug treatment programs would be strengthened through the money gained in tax. The other would limit production of cannabis to CBD—no plants allowed—and be used mainly for the eight “cannabis-worthy diseases” used as a guideline in most states: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, cachexia, seizures, spasms, pain, and nausea. Whether Ohio will legalize, and in what way they choose to do so, will be a defining aspect of 2016’s policy.