Pubdate: Fri, 30 Jan 2015
Source: Dayton Daily News (OH)
Copyright: 2015 Dayton Daily News
Author: Laura A. Bischoff


Ohio AG DeWine Calls Push to Legalize Pot in Ohio 'Stupid Idea.'

COLUMBUS - Four Republican statewide leaders came out strongly 
against legalizing marijuana in Ohio and they took shots at a 
proposed constitutional amendment that would name just 10 growing 
sites for legal pot.

Attorney General Mike DeWine called it a "stupid idea" and Treasurer 
Josh Mandel said while it might lead to increased Girl Scout cookie 
sales, it's a bad idea.

"I don't know if I've ever seen a worse idea," said Secretary of 
State Jon Husted. "If it makes it to the ballot, I would vigorously 
ask the voters defeat it because I think it would be awful for Ohio."

Husted added that it is "offensive" that Ohioans will be asked to 
grant a business monopoly through an amendment to the Ohio Constitution.

ResponsibleOhio plans to seek a constitutional amendment in November 
2015 that would name 10 growing sites for legal marijuana, create a 
marijuana control commission and allow for about 1,200 retail stores 
across the state. Investors backing ResponsibleOhio are expected to 
control the grow sites.

The group is expected to roll out ballot language in the coming 
weeks. That language will have to be approved by DeWine's office as 
an accurate summary and then the Ohio Ballot Board, headed by Husted, 
will have to certify that it is one issue. After that, the group will 
need to collect 306,000 valid signatures from registered voters by 
July 1 to make the November ballot.

State Auditor Dave Yost said Ohio should have a constitutional 
amendment that prohibits any future amendments that carve out 
business monopolies. In 2009 Ohio voters approved a constitutional 
amendment that named four specific casino sites.

Gov. John Kasich is also on the record opposing legalizing marijuana in Ohio.

ResponsibleOhio spokeswoman Lydia Bolander said marijuana prohibition 
is a failed policy that wastes $120 million a year in enforcement 
expenses and denies sick people access to medical pot.

"ResponsibleOhio's plan will create a tightly regulated, safe, open 
and transparent market, bringing much-needed revenue to our 
communities and creating thousands of jobs," Bolander said. "Ohioans 
deserve a mature, honest conversation about our proposal because 
ultimately, the decision about whether to pass this amendment will be 
made by voters, not politicians."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom