Politics

Ohio mayoral hopeful doles out free ‘weed’

Elizabeth Dorton Contributor

Campaigning for the chance at mayor of Cincinnati, Jim Berns doled out supposed free “marijuana plants” to potential constituents near the University of Cincinnati to receive dozens of people in line hoping to snag some dope.

The catch? He was handing out harmless, but familiar-looking tomato plants.

Berns posits that the legalization of medical marijuana could raise the city’s economy.

He explained his position by attempting to prove how the money can be saved, mainly by not using up police officers’ time. “The state can make millions, if not billions, of dollars making this into a legal industry, and that we don’t have to have all these police chasing petty criminals around,” he said.

In an effort to rally the crowd, Berns shouted, “How many people want to grow marijuana on their back porch?”

As cars drove by, signs emblazoned with the motivation “Free Marijuana Plants” were flashed at drivers.

Though they weren’t really cannabis plants, some crowd members were aware as they were standing in line that his efforts were purely for show.

One student who managed to snag a plant said, “A bit of a promo stunt, absolutely, but I knew what I was coming here for, a tomato, that’s obvious,” said Branden Francis.

When asked about his concerns for citizens if the plants really were illegal drugs, Berns evaded the question and excused himself.

“If you’re going to be an American these days, you better have a little balls, and do what you think is right, and I think what I’m doing today, bringing attention to this is worth a little risk. If I were arrested, it’s probably nothing better they can do for my campaign than arrest me,” he said.

If 385,000 supporting signatures are collected, a vote to legalize marijuana in Ohio could be on the ballot next year.

The bill would legalize the selling of marijuana for medical purposes but would still prohibit growing the plant for recreational use.