The Dayton City Paper, an alt-weekly out of Dayton, Ohio, recently ran a "debate" on marijuana legalization. On one side of the page, a DCP staffer argued in favor of Ohio moving to legalize. The other side of the page was mostly blank.
An editor's note on the anti-legalization side of the page says, "On behalf of the Dayton City Paper staff, we apologize, but we were unable to locate a debate writer who was able to submit a view opposed to the legalization of marijuana in Ohio at this time."
The paper's plan had been to have another staff writer make an anti-legalization argument. But a scheduling mistake prevented the one staffer amenable to writing against legalization from filing on time. Rather than scrap the debate—a weekly staple in the paper and one of its most popular features—the publishers decided to have fun with it.
Clearly, the paper could have found a writer, if not necessarily a staffer, to take the opposing side were time constraints not an issue. But they were. DCP Publisher Paul Noah points out that the editorial note merely says they couldn't locate someone in time.
"We're making a statement in a playful way," says Noah, a supporter of legalizaiton efforts like Colorado's.
Not even medical marijuana is currently legal in Ohio. Three medical marijuana amendments have had language approved by the attorney general and the Ohio Ballot Board, but campaigners have been unable to collect enough signatures to get these on the ballot.
In 2013, State Rep. Bob Hagan (D-Youngstown) introduced legislation that would allow people to grow marijuana for medicinal use or designate a caregiver to grow it for them, a proposal similar to existing laws in 20 states and the District of Columbia. But after an initial May 2013 committee hearing, there's been no action on Hagan's bill. Hagan also introduced a measure to legalize, tax, and regulate recreational marijuana, but it has met a similar fate.
According to a poll released in March, 87 percent of Ohioans (including 78 percent of Republicans) think medical marijuana should be legal. And a slight majority (51 percent) support legalizing small amounts for personal recreational use. "Is it time?" as the Dayton City Paper recently asked. It seems like the answer's inching closer to yes.