Excited about ResponsibleOhio’s referendum to legalize cannabis in the Buckeye State? On the surface, you should be. After all, if Issue 3 passes, Ohio will become state number five to thumb their collective nose at the Federal Government on the issue of marijuana prohibition. And as they say, “As Ohio goes, so goes the nation.” But take a closer look. Yes, the measure would make it legal for any adult over 21 to toke up, but many cannabis activists argue that it may do more harm than good.
The primary gripe for most pro-pot groups who oppose the measure is the alleged monopoly it would create. According to an editorial piece on Cleveland.com, ResponsibleOhio’s Issue 3 would “give ten predetermined beneficiaries at sites around the state the exclusive right to grow marijuana commercially,” and it just so happens the measure is being funded primarily by those “ten predetermined beneficiaries.”
Granted, the measure does allow individuals to grow up to four plants for personal use as long as they register with the state, but that allowance doesn’t justify the closed market it would create, at least as far as Cleveland.com’s editorial board is concerned.
“No matter how you smoke it,” they argue, “A state sanctioned monopoly—or perhaps more accurately in this case, an oligopoly or cartel—awarded to private individuals is almost always ill-advised.” It should be noted that the authors of the editorial cited state unequivocally that they are all for legalization, just not through this proposed channel, and they aren’t the only ones to hold this view.
“After reading the fine print, I’d have to vote no,” Said Mike Kouza, owner of the Attic Smoke Shop in Findlay, Ohio. “I’m never one to advocate political agendas but ResponsibleOhio is a bad deal for everyone in Ohio who actually needs legal Cannabis.”
Whether or not Issue 3 is right for the smoking population of Ohio will ultimately be up to the voter. Washington’s initiative faced opposition from within the movement as well, but ultimately overcame and became law. If you’re a resident of Ohio, no one here will tell you how to vote. Just be advised that you should always read the fine print on everything. Research the measure for yourself. Get the facts. If Issue 3 is the way you want to see cannabis legalized in your state, then vote yes. Just know exactly what you’re voting for.