YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – With his visit on Monday to Youngstown’s medical marijuana grow facility, Senate candidate and Congressman Tim Ryan (D, 17th District) brought the legalization of recreational marijuana into the campaign.

In Ohio and Pennsylvania, marijuana is legal for medical purposes only. At the same time, it’s now legal for medical and recreational use in 21 states and the District of Columbia.

On Monday, the Tim for Ohio campaign released pictures of Ryan — dressed in protective equipment — touring Riviera Creek.

Riviera Creek’s growing process is a secret. Only the end product is allowed to be photographed, but Ryan called the process “cutting-edge technology” and sees it being used to help feed the world.

“The Defense Department will use something for military purposes that later become commercialized. That always happens, and so here it is. It’s about medical but pretty soon it’s going to be about growing food in a way that you can really increase your yields, and healthier food and less transportation,” Ryan said. You don’t need to worry about weather. It’d be a good thing. A lot of jobs.”

But that cutting-edge technology is used to grow marijuana for medical purposes only. Ryan says marijuana should also be legal for recreational adult use.

“You can make sure the product is safe and not laced with fentanyl or some of these other things that are killing people. To me, I think we need to take that next step,” Ryan said.

We tried contacting Ryan’s opponent in the Senate race, Republican JD Vance, for his stance on legalizing recreational marijuana but never received a reply.

But Republican Bill Johnson, the incumbent in the 6th Congressional District, opposes it, saying the last thing we should be discussing is legalizing drugs. His opponent, Democrat Lou Lyras, supports it on both the state and federal levels.

In the race for Ohio state senator, Republican Mike Rulli opposes legalization for now, saying there are too many unanswered questions about regulating it. Rulli’s opponent, Democrat Bob Hagan, is for it, saying we “can’t control or regulate it until we legalize it.”

For 59th District state representative, Democrat Lauren McNally would vote to legalize while her opponent, Independent Eric Ungaro, would not, saying he’s “against lowering the bar for kids in today’s society.”

In the 65th House District, Independent Jennifer Donnelly says she’s in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use while her opponent, Republican incumbent Mike Loychick, said he’s only for “prescription medical marijuana for the approved list of ailments.”

In the race for state representative for Ohio’s 58th District, Democrat Bruce Neff supports legalization while his opponent, Republican incumbent Al Cutrona, was non-committal, saying he’d have to see the details of legalization before deciding.

In the 64th District, Democrat Vince Peterson says he too supports legalization while his opponent, Republican Nick Santucci, says there are more pressing issues and would have to hear from key stakeholders first.