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Ohio's Issue 2 Vote Passes

Congratulations to all, both inside and outside the cannabis community!

With the passage of Issue 2, Ohio, already one of 38 states to allow medicinal use of marijuana, becomes the 24th state to legalize recreational marijuana use which will create a framework for commercial sales of marijuana products. Prior to this passage, one would have to get a recommendation from a medical doctor in order to purchase marijuana. Passage of the citizen-initiated statute includes cultivation, processing, sale, purchase, possession and home growth of marijuana for adults aged 21 or above. Adults could possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, 15 grams of concentrates, as well as grow up to six marijuana plants at home and 12 plants collectively, in a household. And let’s not forget about the millions of dollars of tax revenue generated by legalizing marijuana. The economic benefits to Ohio are huge.

But for us, cannabis reform is not solely about profits, but a whole lot more about people. Cannabis prohibition has been especially harmful for Black people and other people of color largely through arrest disparities. The effect of the inequities has resulted in broken homes, mainly fatherless homes, children in poverty, mental illness, negative life outcomes, compounded generationally, reduced income and opportunities after serving time, particularly for possession of quantities suitable for personal consumption. The “crime” has not matched the time. While we celebrate the legalization of marijuana for nonmedicinal use in our state, we will also advocate to repair the damage to individuals caused by discriminatory enforcement of prohibition. Representation matters. Legalizing cannabis possession will dramatically reduce cannabis arrests and convictions but won’t eliminate unlawful or unwarranted acts by those in power.

When my sister and I were growing up, our dad had his six plants in his home grow. He consumed for nonmedicinal use, but in hindsight, I believe cannabis was his medicine. I now know that the compounds in the flower helped alleviate some of his pain due to depression and balanced his mood swings associated with borderline bipolar disorder. Ironically, our dad was born in 1937, the year that marijuana possession was made illegal. He missed the memo. And today, his two girls are the CEO and COO of a medical and soon-to-be recreational cannabis business, Harvest of OH soon to be rebranded as Mavuno, a Swahili term meaning the yield (full amount) or harvest from an agricultural product. Thank you Daddy for planting the seed! I am being transparent here not to disclose personal family stories, but to reveal that cannabis has been part of our lives long before my sister, Ariane Kirkpatrick, had the audacity to believe she could, so she did. And thank God she did for none of us would be working or associated with, or on behalf of the Harvest of OH dream team today. Together, we are part of history.

So again, it’s not solely about profits for us, although increased profits will allow us to reinvest in our business, further compensate our diverse and inclusive work team, provide opportunities and partnerships with other small businesses, underrepresented in the supply chain, and finally, invest in the communities where we live and work. So today, our dad in heaven with our mom side smirking and smiling by his side, is shining upon us with pride and relief for today we are righting the wrongs of the past. We could have very well been that broken family without a father in the home, impoverished by pain and poverty, but our steps were ordered for this path, this assignment, to use cannabis as a vehicle for social equity and healing.

Thank you to all of you for helping us change the conversation.

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