Oct 29, 2015
Voting

COLUMBUS -- Citing significant public safety concerns, the Ohio Public Transit Association (OPTA) today announced its strong opposition to State Issue 3, a proposed constitutional amendment that would give a small group of investors a monopoly over the cultivation and sale of marijuana in Ohio.

OPTA represents 61 public transit agencies with a total ridership of 115 million trips annually. The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) is a member of OPTA.

Strong safety concerns

“Our members work hard to keep our roads safe for their 60,000 employees and the 500,000 Ohioans they serve daily,” said OPTA President Jim Gee, General Manager of the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA). “If Issue 3 passes, it will compromise the safety not only of the hardworking men and women providing public transportation, but of everyone else on the road as well.”

“Marijuana use interferes with reaction time, peripheral use, and decision-making abilities. No one wants to ride a public bus in the lane next to a driver who is high, and my concern is that marijuana legalization will make this scenario commonplace.”

“We’re starting to see reports in Colorado and Washington that link the legalization of marijuana to safety problems on the road,” said Gee. “It’s far more difficult to test for marijuana than it is for alcohol.”

To apprehend motorists driving under the influence of marijuana, Ohio law enforcement officers would require additional drug detection training and equipment.

  • In August 2015, the state of Washington released data showing an 83 percent increase in THC positive DUIs from 2011-2015.
  • A recent report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Task Force found that marijuana-related traffic deaths in Colorado increased by 92 percent between 2010 and 2014, even though recreational marijuana wasn’t legalized until 2013.

Background

OPTA joins a broad coalition of professional organizations, law enforcement officers, and public safety advocates in calling for the defeat of Issue 3. OPTA is a professional association that provides leadership, resources, support and technical assistance to public and private transit agencies in Ohio. OPTA members daily serve more than 500,000 Ohioans, while employing more than 60,000.

The original release can be found here.