Pot or not? Community talks about what legalizing marijuana could mean

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BAY VILLAGE, Ohio-- A town hall meeting was held Tuesday night as a community discussed the potential legalization of marijuana in Ohio.

Voters could learn this week whether a group in favor of it collected enough signatures to put the issue on the November ballot.

Town hall meeting in Bay Village to discuss marijuana; 8/11/15 (Photo courtesy: FOX 8's Kevin Freeman)

Almost two dozen people gathered for the meeting at Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church in Bay Village.  They heard from various health professionals about the effects of marijuana.

"This is about commercializing marijuana and creating an entire business that feeds on the vulnerable and the young," said Tony Coder, assistant director of Drug Free Action Alliance.

The group ResponsibleOhio believes it has enough signatures to allow voters to decide at the ballot box in November whether to legalize recreational and medicinal uses of marijuana in Ohio.

The organization said making marijuana legal would reduce crime, generate revenue and regulate the drug to make it safer.

Speakers at Tuesday night's town hall meeting said voters need to learn more about the drug's impact.  They said it can be addictive and should not be compared to alcohol, which they said is also very toxic.

"The fact that alcohol is legal doesn't make it better or worse. I think our issue is: do we want to legalize another psycho active substance which the perception of young people will be, once that happens, if it's done, then it must be okay."

Faith Oltman, a spokeswoman for ResponsibleOhio, said the deadline for counties to turn in their official totals to the Secretary of State's office was Tuesday.

She said they feel confidence and excited, but could know for sure whether they have enough signatures to put pot on the ballot as soon as this week.

**Continuing coverage on the potential legalization of marijuana in Ohio**