CLEVELAND-- The city's three major hospital systems joined forces today in opposing Issue 3 - the ballot initiative that seeks to have voters legalize marijuana in Ohio.
The Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, and MetroHealth say they are joining a broad coalition of medical professionals in opposing the measure.
If approved, Issue 3 would legalize marijuana for recreational and medicinal use in Ohio. It would limit the commercial growing of marijuana to ten pre-designated sites across the state. The sites are, in essence, owned by the investors who have put up roughly $20 million total to fund the Issue 3 campaign.
"I have witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of substance abuse," says Dr. Jerry Jason, an addiction psychiatrist at the Cleveland Clinic.
"I am especially concerned for the children and adolescents who would have much easier access to marijuana, especially in edible forms, should Issue 3 pass," he says.
Business leaders also voiced their opposition. "Legalizing marijuana raises all kinds of new concerns and issues for employers," says Joe Roman, the President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership.
'ResponsibleOhio,' the group behind the Issue 3 proposal, says opposing legalization "supports the failed status quo which costs Ohio $100 million every year."
The group says passage of the measure would "take our streets back from drug dealers" and help to launch a new multi-billion dollar industry in the state that will create 10,000 jobs.
Voters will have their say at the polls this November.