Cannabis in America
Why You Should Feel Conflicted Over Ohio’s Upcoming Marijuana Legalization Vote
Tomorrow eyes all over the country will be watching Ohio to see if voters vote in favor of Issue 3, an amendment to the state’s constitution that would make smoking and eating marijuana edibles legal in the state for everyone 21 and older, and for patients of any age with qualifying medical conditions. If it’s approved, Ohio will become the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use without first legalizing it only for medicinal use.
However, the state’s odd legalization plan has some serious drawbacks that have some pro-pot voters vowing to vote against legalizing their drug of choice. So before the votes are cast, here are some reasons why residents should feel conflicted over the upcoming vote.
1.) It could be the beginning of a marijuana oligopoly
This marijuana campaign is highly unusual, because it is the first of its kind to be almost entirely funded by the “investors,” who will profit from it. Modeled after Ohio’s restrictive casino measure, Issue 3 would restrict commercial rights to grow marijuana to the 10 investment facilities owned by major investors who spent millions to back the initiative. This feature would effectively create an oligopoly in the state, where only a few major players reap the production rewards.
According to Issue 3’s website, 1,100 business licenses will be available to the public, but only for retail, dispensary, and manufacturing purposes.
2.) Issue 2 hopes to undercut Issue 3
The General Assembly proposed Issue 2 or the “antimonopoly amendment” in an attempt to thwart Issue’s 3’s restrictive growth clauses. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Issue 2 “would prohibit a monopoly, oligopoly or cartel from getting on the statewide ballot without having to pass two public votes at the same election.”
The problem is the legislators who framed Issue 2 made it so that it would undermine all of Issue 3, and not just its oligopoly provision. Unfortunately there is no third option for voters on the ballot that would legalize marijuana without the commercial growth stipulations.
3.) No ones knows what will happen if both issues pass
There are four potential outcomes for Tuesday’s ballot: (1) neither Issue passes and nothing changes, (2) Issue 3 passes and Issue 2 fails making marijuana legal in the influential swing state, (3) Issue 2 passes and Issue 3 fails making commercial monopolies illegal, or (4) both pass, meaning there’s no clear victor. If option four happens, both issues will likely end up before the Ohio Supreme Court, which will decide the next step.
4.) BTW…Nick Lachey could get rich off Ohio’s pot
Many people were surprised when former Mr. Jessica Simpson and semi-famous singing heartthrob Nick Lachey voiced his support for Issue 3 in a 30 second ad.
Even though Lachey says “Ohio is my home” in the ad, he’s not even registered to vote in Ohio. As it turns out, he’s actually one of the 10 financial backers who would benefit from the passing of the proposition.
It’s unclear which way Ohioans will swing tomorrow, but their decision could have a huge impact on the rest of the country. Negatives and all, the approval of recreational marijuana in Ohio could be a crucial step in convincing the rest of the country to follow suit.