Pro-marijuana group explains its plan to purge pot-related convictions

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Giving people a fresh start. That's the goal of a new act being sent to the statehouse today. However, it can only move forward if marijuana is legalized this fall. November.

Speakers from ResponsibleOhio, business leaders in the community and pastors in the area came together at a press conference in Cleveland Tuesday to throw their support behind the initiative, saying people with marijuana offenses on their record are being held back from jobs because of it.

This act would expunge or remove certain marijuana offenses, convictions and citations from a person's record.

The group says it will have ripple effect because if the record is cleared, people can get jobs and the crime rates will go down.

Eric Collins says he is an example of that.

"I support it because I am one of those who deserves a second chance," Collins said. "I believe I would be in a better place if I had a clean slate. I stand behind the act and encourage everyone to as well."

The signatures from around the state were sent in Tuesday, however nothing can happen unless Issue 3, marijuana legalization, passes in November.

"When Issue 3 passes in November, many marijuana-related crimes will no longer be illegal," ACLU executive director Christine Link said. "It's time to do the right thing by giving those with previous convictions a clean slate and a fresh start."

Legislators would need to act at the beginning of 2016 or supporters could put the question to voters next fall.

We did reach out to the groups who do not support Issue 3 about their opinion on the Fresh Start Act and have not yet heard back.

Ohioans Against Marijuana Monopolies issued the following statement:

“Despite spending millions from self-interested investors, the architects of Issue 3 are struggling to get support for their ill-conceived marijuana monopoly plan.  In online promotions, direct mail to voters, and statements to the press, the pro-Issue 3 campaign resorts to deception, focusing on something that isn’t even on the ballot as part of Issue 3 this fall.  It’s distortion out of desperation.

“Issue 3 is about cementing greedy private investors into Ohio’s constitution with a plan that will create more than 1,100 marijuana stores selling marijuana-infused edibles that pose a serious risk to our children.  Our broad-based coalition has come together to defeat Issue 3 in November and is focused solely on that ballot issue.”

Read more here. 

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