Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken supports putting marijuana - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken supports putting marijuana legalization on November ballot

LUCAS COUNTY, OH (Toledo News Now) - Last month, the Ohio Ballot Board gave approval to the group Responsible Ohio to begin collecting petitions to get a marijuana legalization amendment on the Ohio November ballot.

On Monday, Responsible Ohio announced that Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken supports that issue being on the ballot.

“The legalization in the state of Ohio is an issue that needs to be talked about, and then acted about since our legislature isn't going to do anything with it, the people can decide,” said Commissioner Gerken, who signed the petition at a press conference Monday. “The only way the people get to decide is if it gets on the ballot, so I'm proud to sign the petition today; it's my right and obligation as a voter. Our next rights and obligations are to then have the discussion of how this works, what's the benefit, and what's the cost.”

David Bastos, an investor behind the company managing the proposed growth facility, says there will be about 300 jobs created. Gerken says that is something that the board of Lucas County Commissioners are interested in.

“These jobs will be $25 or above with benefits, they'll be probably union jobs, there'll be a facility that's built by local labor that provides 30 new retail and business opportunities for people in Lucas County,” said Commissioner Gerken.

If passed, the marijuana legalization amendment could potentially bring in $17 million to Lucas County in 2020.

“We're in the process of reforming criminal justice up here. What a great way to do it is use the proceeds from what used to be hopefully a criminal enterprise, it is a criminal enterprise today, and use that legal enterprise to pay for our advancement in criminal justice,” said Commissioner Gerken.

Responsible Ohio has been out collecting petitions for weeks now and the group's spokesman says that a possible facility in our area would definitely have an impact on the community.

“The state (Ohio) is wasting 120 million dollars a year to enforce a prohibition that doesn't work and it's time that we not only repeal that system, but replace it with something that creates new opportunities and increases our public safety,” said Responsible Ohio spokesman Lydia Bolander.

There are still hundreds of thousands of signatures that must be collected from registered voters and submitted for approval by July in order to get the issue on the ballot.

For more information on becoming a part of the petition-gathering process with Responsible Ohio or to sign the petition itself click here

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