I’ve seen a lot of press about Ohio’s marijuana initiative coming out of Responsible Ohio. Not only will this make Ohio the first state to go straight for full legalization, but one initiative sets up a monopoly on marijuana cultivation and sales while another backed by the legislature bans voter initiated monopolies like this one. Ohio will definitely be the state to watch tonight.
Responsible Ohio’s initiative would have 10 cultivation facilities serving ALL the manufacturers and stores. They’ll control the strain and product selection, quality and price. The initiative allows for one store per 10,000 citizens, or by current census data, a max of 1,159 stores statewide. ALL served by just 10 state-sanctioned growers. And where those cultivators are to be located, down to the property parcel numbers, is specified in this initiative, effectively creating a state-sanctioned monopoly enshrined by the voters in perpetuity. This sets up a lovely little windfall for those owning those 10 choice pieces of property. Yes, it allows for use and possession of 1 ounce. Yes, residents will be allowed to grow 4 plants and keep 8 ounces, assuming they can get the required license. But this oligopoly is a pretty high price to pay. And is this really freedom? Ohio can do better.
The state legislature responded to this political ploy by putting their own initiative on the ballot. Issue 2 would ban the use of tactics like this that create a monopoly, oligopoly, or cartel for their exclusive financial benefit or to establish a preferential tax status. If this initiative passes, it will effectively put a stop to the monopoly established in Issue 3. September and October polling data show support for this measure.
Will one or both of these initiatives pass? We’ll see.
As far as marijuana policy goes, our eyes will be on Ohio tonight.
— Rx MaryJane (Teri Robnett)
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