Last updated: January 03. 2014 5:48PM - 775 Views
JOE BLUNDO The Columbus Dispatch



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Smoking marijuana for fun became legal this week in Colorado.


That development has me wondering what will happen when Ohio legalizes pot for recreational use.


You know that it’s likely to happen someday, right? We have fertile farmland, a good transportation network and a large population of aging baby boomers nostalgic for early- 1970s dorm life. I’d say it’s practically inevitable.


True, Ohio hasn’t been quick to jump on other vice bandwagons. It was a relative latecomer to casino gambling: Nevada legalized it in 1931; and Ohio, in 2009.


But I doubt we’ll wait 78 years on marijuana. The tax windfall alone will make it irresistible.


Whenever it happens, expect the marketing of marijuana to be done with a distinctive Ohio approach. Here are my predictions:


•Ohio State University will have licensed strains of marijuana designed to appeal to Buckeyes fans. Among the offerings will be Light Up Sloopy; Highs-man Trophy; and, of course, TrippedOhio.


Meanwhile, Bob Evans will experiment with a special “tailgate blend” that makes smokers crave bratwurst.


•The magic word that can sell anything in Ohio - Amish - will undoubtedly be applied to marijuana retailing. Once stoned on, say, Amish Gold, tourists will flock to gift shops to stare at quilts and buy copious amounts of apple butter. No change there.


•Marijuana retailers will fashion themselves in the images of the suburbs or neighborhoods where they are situated.


Clintonville will specialize in sustainable marijuana, locally grown and fertilized exclusively by manure from neighborhood chickens. New Albany will have an upscale marijuana spa.


During the Memorial Tournament, Dublin will sell a strain of pot aimed at golfers looking for something other than a beer buzz. It will be called Bentgrass.


•The liberal college towns of Athens (Ohio University), Yellow Springs (Antioch) and Gambier (Kenyon) will race to be the first to establish an Ohio Marijuana Festival.


When other towns see its success - the sale of funnel cakes alone will bring in millions - they’l l begin incorporating pot into their own events, such as the Cincinnati October-Toke and the West Jefferson Pot Roast.


•Marijuana tourism will become big business in Ohio. Pot outlet malls will spring up near freeway exits. Truck stops will offer 24-hour bong repair.


Experience Columbus, the region’s visitors bureau, will tout our excellent restaurants, high-class lodging and full range of marijuana delights. And, to reinforce the point, it will rename itself Inhale Columbus.

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