United We Win!

united_JP_image.jpgThe Ohio Rights Group and the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment are fine and it's still full steam ahead. The Amendment application rejected by the Ohio Attorney General in the news on Monday pertains to another group's attempt at achieving what we so proudly accomplished last May: approval from the Ohio AG and the Ballot Board to commence the signature-gathering phase. 

Placing an amendment to the Ohio Constitution on the ballot is a difficult process and a rejection is a tough hurdle. We understand that. It has come to our attention that the group who’s proposed Amendment was rejected by the Ohio AG is contemplating a redraft of their language and resubmission of it to the AG. Instead, we sincerely hope they decide that a unified Ohio will be unstoppable and to set their Amendment aside and focus on joining forces behind the one Amendment that can and will win in 2014, the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment. 

It has been said that we first need to take the patients and the farmers off the battlefield of the drug war. To be anything other than singly focused on this goal puts any kind of reform in Ohio at grave risk, perhaps for years to come.

If we fail learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. The lesson I took from all of the competing reform attempts in 2012 is “divided we fall”. That is why I am so often quoted as saying “United We Win!” and I couldn’t be more sincere in my commitment to this idea. The majority of Ohioans support therapeutic cannabis, well over 60% in recent polling. Twenty states now have some form of permitted cannabis use and this trend shows no sign of slowing down. We intend to join them, but we can’t do so by working against one another.

It’s time for all reform minded Ohioans to come together under one banner and join a winning team. The Ohio Rights Group has the best Amendment that has been called a ‘model for the nation’ by nationally recognized reformers. 

I’m so proud to be the president of such a promising venture. What began as a small band of dedicated reformers has exploded into a vibrant statewide organization that is already garnering national attention. Everyday I’m blown away by the ever-increasing list of professionals who offer to join our team to do their part to win this important victory. We have the strongest team of policy experts, business and labor leaders, political allies, and an ever-growing army of volunteers from the Ohio River to the Lake Erie shore. They see the professionalism of our team and the fact that our Amendment is expertly written and tailor-made for Ohio. The industrial hemp component will free Ohio farmers to grow hemp for food, fuel and fiber while the therapeutic cannabis language will protect ailing Ohioans and their caregivers from arrest, prosecution or property seizure.

If we are to be successful, we need to unify behind the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment and be laser-focused on getting it on the ballot in 2014. This will require a lot of hard work on all of our parts. As of today, we have a little over 10 months to collect the requisite number of signatures for ballot placement so we have no time to waste. We need to continue to grow our ranks and fund our cause so our two biggest needs are dedicated volunteers who can contribute their available time and talents and we need your generous donations because running a statewide ballot drive is an expensive endeavor. 

We have some exciting developments planned for the coming weeks so get ready for this effort to get thrown into high gear very soon. But in the meantime, stay active, donate generously and often and let’s make sure that all Ohioans understand the importance of our battle cry “United We Win!”