Marijuana leaf and the word Ohio

The Ohio Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is issuing a strong statement opposing any proposed changes to the allocation of funds from Issue 2, particularly those suggesting the redirection of funds towards county jail construction and tax relief.

Tom Roberts, President of the Ohio NAACP, asserts, “Ohio voters spoke in a firm and unmistakable voice to support Issue 2 in its current legislative language form. The Ohio NAACP is aware of comments made by Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens suggesting one of the priorities for Issue 2 revenue should be ‘investing in county jail construction.’ Additionally, Ohio Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted said that the revenue should be used for ‘tax relief.’”

Currently, 36 percent of the revenue raised from Issue 2 is proposed to go “towards a social equity and jobs program which would give preference to economically or socially disadvantaged applicants in granting licenses,” as per the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. This designation of a disadvantaged applicant hinges on factors ranging from race and gender to being from high-unemployment areas to having prior arrests or convictions for some marijuana or related offenses, according to Signal Cleveland, a nonprofit news org.

The Ohio NAACP strongly supports the social equity and jobs program contained in Issue 2, which was robustly backed by Ohio voters.

“Investment in communities to assist Ohioans who have historically been disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system would ultimately benefit all Ohioans by strengthening Ohio’s workforce and improving community health,” Roberts emphasized.

The organization firmly opposes any reduction in the allocation towards the social equity and jobs program, regardless of the source. “Additionally, we are vehemently opposed to using any revenues towards jail construction,” Roberts added.

The Ohio NAACP also stands against reducing funding for the social equity program if it were to be used towards tax cuts.

“We need to be investing in Ohioans for the jobs of the future, and Issue 2 creates revenue to assist in that effort,” Roberts stated. He further added, “Ultimately, if politicians who call themselves ‘pro-life’ want to put that stance into action, then they will keep the social equity and jobs revenue allocation in place in order to strengthen the lives of Ohioans that have been adversely impacted by the criminal justice system and invest in programs to help Ohioans get on their feet and find success in today’s society. Quite frankly, we need to use this revenue to invest in people, not jails.”

The Ohio NAACP calls for a steadfast commitment to the original intent and allocation of Issue 2 funds, emphasizing the importance of supporting social equity and job creation programs over other proposed uses.