By Joan Eberhardt
Ohio legalization amendment fails soundly
Voters in Ohio yesterday soundly rejected a measure that would have taken marijuana from illegal, to legal medically and recreationally in one vote. The measure would have legalized cannabis, while installing a preordained list of growers into the state constitution, effectively creating a legal cartel.
While polls showed that Ohio voters supported legalizing cannabis, there was very little support for the part of the measure that would have created a monopoly on commercial growing in the state. The monopoly, rather than fears about cannabis itself and its effect on society, is very likely what killed the vote.
Issue 3, had it passed, would have given exclusive, perpetual, growing rights to the ten organizations that helped fund in the initiative in the first place. Wealthy investors, including former-98th Degree Nick Lachey, came from across the country in what many voters saw as a way to take control of the marijuana industry in the state. ResponsibleOhio, the organization pushing the amendment, insisted that it would not create a monopoly and that the way it was worded on the ballot was to blame for any misunderstandings.
In an effort to curb the Issue’s 3 potential success, the Republican-led State House scuttled together Issue 2 for the same ballot. Issue 2 would have banned monopolies outright. Had both Issues 2 and 3 passed, it would go to the legislature, and very likely a lengthy court battle.
Issue 2, the one banning monopolies, squeaked by with a 7 percent victory margin.
Issue 3, the one that would have legalized cannabis for recreational and medical purposes, while creating a monopoly on growing operations, was rejected with 65 percent of voters opposed and 35 percent of voters in favor.
Here’s hoping legal cannabis proponents come back to Ohio in time for next November’s presidential election (which has historically higher voter turnout) with a better plan.
- Colorado voted to spend the $66 million in excess taxes from the sale of cannabis, rather than issue refunds to taxpayers.
- Ireland has plans to decriminalize marijuana, heroin and cocaine and will create designated spaces in Dublin for users.
- Marijuana advocates in Arkansas should really proofread before trying to get their measure on the ballot.
- There’s some evidence cannabis might help with ADHD symptoms.
- 6,000 inmates convicted of nonviolent, drug-related crimes, were scheduled for early release from federal prisons Sunday.
- Dozens of Pennsylvania’s religious leaders argued that medical cannabis is an important tool to bring aid to the suffering.
- Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders would remove marijuana from the list of Schedule 1 drugs, if elected. (It is recommended you view this 12-second audience reaction video when he made the announcement.)
- And because this was so politically heavy, here’s Dan Savage giving delightfully questionable relationship advice while ingesting edibles in Denver. (This was supposed to be for his 420th podcast, but he forgot and it’s number 471 instead.)