By Katie Montgomery
Marijuana lovers across Ohio will either celebrate — or lament — the results of the Issue 2 and Issue 3 ballot initiative following Tuesday’s vote.
Issue 3 legalizes marijuana for both recreational and medicinal uses. It also limits the production and sale of marijuana heavily. There are 10 predetermined “grow-sites” throughout the state, which will be the only places in the entire state where marijuana will be allowed to be grown and sold. There will also be 1,100 designated store locations for the average consumer, stocked with marijuana from these farms.
Private homeowners can possess four adult plants — which must be purchased from one of the 10 grow sites — and may possess up to eight ounces of marijuana product at a time. They will not be allowed to sell any of their own products, nor will they be allowed to have over 100 grams of marijuana. Both of these actions would be felonies.
Even if an adult can own four plants, those plants must all come from the designated grow-sites, with the prices determined by these 10 farms. It specifically prohibits other farms from forming, and it prohibits any sale or possession of marijuana not from these approved farm sources. Possessing and growing marijuana will, in several ways, still be a felony.
The concern most frequently voiced by citizens is that it limits the entire marijuana market in Ohio to 10 people and their businesses. These people are the top 10 donors to ResponsibleOhio’s PAC, the organization which has pushed millions of dollars into advertising and negotiating with political interest groups to get Issue 3 on the ballot in the first place.
Issue 2 does not talk about marijuana directly. It was created specifically to address the monopoly that will occur if Issue 3 passes. This issue will make any attempts to create a monopoly — one person or entity that controls a section of the market — or an oligopoly — a selected few persons or entities that control a section of the market — using a ballot initiative subject to a 2-step review and approval process by the Ohio Ballot Board.
Despite some argument, the passage of Issue 2 makes the success of Issue 3 highly unlikely.
Of course, ResponsibleOhio and other private marijuana supporters will not let it go without a fight. If both issues pass, the Ohio Supreme Court will probably need to get involved to settle things, because otherwise completely contradictory statements will suddenly be a part of the Ohio Constitution.
The Bottom Line
If voters want to ensure that future monopolies, oligopolies and cartels won’t exist — but also realize it will become far more expensive for citizens to put issues on the ballot and far more difficult for citizens to get initiatives passed — vote for Issue 2.
If voters want marijuana legalized in some way and don’t care how it’s done, they should vote for Issue 3 and vote against Issue 2.
If voters want to legalize marijuana but don’t like ResponsibleOhio’s plan, they should vote against Issue 2 — which will make bringing marijuana legalization in any form back to the ballot a much more difficult prospect — while also voting against Issue 3.
Want weed no matter what? Yes on 3, No on 2.
Want weed, but want to wait for a different plan? No on 3, No on 2.
Don’t want weed, but want to make it harder for citizen initiatives to get on the ballot? No on 3, Yes on 2.