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Few state lawmakers willing to talk about marijuana legalization

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The News Outlet asked all state legislator what they thought about legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use. Matt Hawout has the results.

MATT HAWOUT: The latest Columbus Exchange: Politics in Question poll asked if state lawmakers would support legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use. News Outlet reporters contacted 132 legislators and received 24 answers. Cryshanna Jackson Leftwich, a professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations, says she knows why.

CRYSHANNA JACKSON LEFTWICH: You have a lot of people who know this is controversial, and so they just don’t want to say anything – on the record.

HAWOUT: Leftwich has experienced this first-hand.

LEFTWICH: I’m on the board for Project Vote Smart and they send out Political Courage Surveys to all the candidates in all the states, and we don’t get a high response rate.

HAWOUT: Here’s the question we asked.

CHRISTINA YOUNG (reporter): If a proposal came to you to legalize the use of marijuana by adults for recreational and medical use, how would you vote and what reasons would you define your position?

HAWOUT: Eight lawmakers are open to legalizing medical use. Four say this is a federal issue. Two are against any legalization. Six have no opinion, and only one is open to recreational and medical use.

HAWOUT: For more information, visit I’m Matt Hawout. is a collaborative effort among the Youngstown State University journalism program, The University of Akron and The University of Cincinnati, and professional media outlets including, WYSU-FM Radio and The Vindicator (Youngstown), The Beacon Journal and Rubber City Radio (Akron).