Reefer Blandness

Columbus Free Press | September 2, 2014 | by Bob FitrakisA young John Kasich

Despite decades-old rumors that John Kasich may be self-medicating, the Governor vowed that there will be no medical marijuana legislation passed in Ohio this election year!

 In fact, this summer, his Public Safety Department deployed undercover officers into the Community Festival. These plainclothes officers spent their time writing tickets near the Ohio Rights Group booth that was collecting signatures to put medical marijuana on the ballot.

Despite decades-old rumors that John Kasich may be self-medicating, the Governor vowed that there will be no medical marijuana legislation passed in Ohio this election year!

 In fact, this summer, his Public Safety Department deployed undercover officers into the Community Festival. These plainclothes officers spent their time writing tickets near the Ohio Rights Group booth that was collecting signatures to put medical marijuana on the ballot.

 Kasich came into politics as one of Richard Nixon’s freshly-scrubbed “Nixon Youth.” It would be more understandable for Kasich’s undercover cops at Comfest to secure the best dope for their boss. But instead, they were there to show that John Kasich is tough on pot.

 You may have missed it, but Democratic candidate for governor Ed Fitzgerald has taken the courageous stance of coming out in favor of medical marijuana. Well, it might not have been that brave. With 87 percent of voters in the Buckeye State in a recent poll supporting perhaps the world’s oldest medicine. And since he’s trailing incumbent Republican Governor John Kasich by 30 percent – why not go where the people are?

 The other gubernatorial candidate on the ballot this fall is Anita Rios of the Ohio Green Party.

The Green Party has long been in support of the full legalization of marijuana and industrial hemp.

 This sets up a wide spectrum of options for voters this year: Kasich’s Reagan-style “war on drugs,” specifically marijuana; Fitzgerald’s moderate endorsement of medical marijuana now that he’s not really campaigning; and Rios’ and the Green’s enthusiastic support for Washington/ Colorado-style full legalization of marijuana and hemp.

 The tragedy of Fitzgerald’s position is that he was very likely forced to sample marijuana after the headaches ensued from his severely bungled gubernatorial run. Still, he is to be commended for joining the 87 percent of the state who already understood the need for marijuana as medicine.

 Kasich, the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch remain entrenched with the 13 percent still committed to fighting the demon weed. Although if the past provides any insight, it is likely that Kasichs, the Kochs and Murdoch – like Ronald Reagan, Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich – have all self-medicated at some point in time.

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Bob Fitrakis is on the board of the Ohio Rights Group and supports the legalization of medical marijuana. He is also on the ballot in Ohio as the Green Party candidate for Lt. Governor.