Buckeye state marijuana reformists ResponsibleOhio, the group that recently earned a spot on the November 2015 ballot with an initiative aimed at legalizing a statewide cannabis industry, is stirring up controversy once again with the unveiling of their superhero pot mascot “Buddie.”
The latest member to the group’s “Green Rush Bus Tour” has reportedly gotten children’s advocates riled up because they believe the pot icon is a below-the-belt attempt at subliminally marketing weed to kids.
Earlier this week, ResponsibleOhio posted several photos to Facebook featuring a muscular character branded with a pot leaf and the letter B across his chest standing outside the University of Toledo. The group explained that the mascot was being used in an effort to get “college students excited” about the issue of marijuana reform in Ohio by enlisting them in “Buddies 21 and Up Club.”
However, opposing forces quickly came crawling out of the sanctuaries of pseudo sainthood to damn the group for using Big Tobacco tactics to suck children into their sinister plan to spread weed seeds across the state.
Ohio Children Hospital Association president Nick Lashutka told Cleveland.com that he was appalled by ResponsibleOhio’s use of a marijuana mascot to promote the use of cannabis before the voters have even had a chance to decide on it. He argues that when kids see a superhero figure promoting marijuana, which he suggests is harmful to children, “they drawn a conclusion that it’s OK.”
ResponsibleOhio spokesperson Faith Oltman told reporters that the group was in no way trying to entice children to use marijuana. She said the mascot was only making appearances on college campuses in hopes of getting millennial voters to support Issue 3 – the proposal labeled a “monopoly” by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.
In response to the claims that ResponsibleOhio is already marketing pot to kids with the use of Buddie the marijuana mascot, executive director Ian James agues that the group is actually doing the complete opposite. He said their proposal keeps weed out of the hands of children by establishing a legal framework that would remove the product from the black market.