Cincinnati mayoral candidate Jim Berns promises to hand out 48 free marijuana plants

CINCINNATI (WCPO) - Cincinnati mayoral candidate Jim Berns claims he will hand out 48 free marijuana plants at an event Wednesday.

Berns, a Libertarian candidate, made the claim in a press release that included a photo of him smiling and holding a "FREE MARIJUANA PLANTS" sign while standing next to the supposed cannabis.

While the distribution of marijuana is illegal, Berns said his press release and claims are no joke.

"The press release speaks for itself," he told WCPO, our Scripps station in Cincinnati. "I will be giving out the plants seen in the photo."

However, Berns would not confirm if the plants in the photo were actually marijuana -- only that he would be giving them away at the intersection of Martin Luther King Drive and Clifton Avenue around 5 p.m. and that he is doing what he claims in his release.

Berns said he's handing out the supposed marijuana to shed light on an issue that's important to him.

"Our brave men and women go to foreign countries and risk their lives to protect our freedoms. But with the marijuana issue, we lost our freedoms," Berns said. "I'm trying to bring attention to an abusive law."

It is illegal to knowingly obtain, posses or use a controlled substance. And under Ohio law, marijuana is defined as a controlled substance.

But Berns said he's not bothered by the legality of what he claims he's doing.

"I look forward to seeing [the police] there," he said. "We'll see what happens."

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