MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Less than a week from the beginning of early voting in Ohio, the battle over Issue 2 — which would legalize recreational marijuana — is heating up.

If passed, the law would legalize and regulate recreational cannabis for adults 21 years of age and older. Individual Ohioans would also be able to grow up to six plants but up to 12 per household. As Election Day nears, both the Ohio Business Roundtable and Ohio Manufacturer’s Association have come out against Issue 2.

Angela Phillips, CEO of Middletown’s Phillips Tube Group, said she is against opening access to marijuana to protect workers on the floor of her steel assembly plants.

“It’s a real risk for us,” Phillips said.

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Phillips said she is concerned an increased number of people consuming marijuana products could lead to a lower drug-free workforce and increase the potential for workers to enter the job site while under the influence.

“My employees are moving around, in some cases, 40,000 pounds of steel at a single time,” Phillips said.

Advocates for Issue 2, however, said workers can use marijuana on their off-time responsibly without jeopardizing the safety of workplaces.

“They’re not legitimate concerns,” said Tom Haren, a spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “Unfortunately, we’re in the silly season of politics here.”

Haren pointed to Republican Attorney General Dave Yost’s legal brief on Issue 2 as proof employers can establish whatever marijuana use and testing protocol they like including a complete ban. The brief said employers can refuse to hire or fire people based on marijuana consumption at their will.

In addition, Haren said other states that have adopted legal marijuana legislation have not seen significant increases in drug-induced workplace accidents.

“That is not what happened in other states,” he said. “That is not the truth.”

Early voting in the November election begins on Oct. 11. Also on the ballot is a vote on abortion rights.

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