Lucas Co. Commissioner: Legalizing marijuana could bring money and jobs to county

Lucas Co. Commissioner: Legalizing marijuana could bring money and jobs to county

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Last Friday, the Ohio Ballot Board gave approval for the group Responsible Ohio to get a marijuana legalization amendment on the November ballot.

The next step is collecting hundreds of thousands of signatures from registered voters and submitting them for approval by July. Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken says it's for the citizens of the state of Ohio to decide if they want to legalize marijuana.

“It belongs on the will be a benefit to Lucas County that there's potentially $17 million a year in general fund income for the communities. These are dollars that could become available to us in 2020, and this deserves a hard look by the voters,” said Commissioner Gerken.

Along with the funds from tax revenue coming directly to the county, the proposal could also mean more jobs with Toledo likely to be one of ten growing sites in Ohio.

"There would be 300 jobs tied to Toledo that the backers of the initiative guarantee would be living-wage jobs, unionized jobs if the people so choose. There's an opportunity for retail outlets, so there's some small business opportunities, there's revenue enhancement opportunities,” said Commissioner Gerken.

Passage of the amendment would allow Ohioans to buy marijuana for recreational and medical use at state-licensed retail outlets. Commissioner Gerken says the benefits could possibly make the proposal worth considering.

“I'm here to get some information, keep a very open mind, but what I do know is we need to have a say. It's an opportunity for us to be active in the decisions on how our state and county look, and I would encourage people to become part of that process,” said Gerken.

There may also be more job opportunities locally with Responsible Ohio opening a site in downtown Toledo for those who want to become a paid part of the petition-gathering between April and July.

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