Pubdate: Sun, 18 Oct 2015
Source: Dayton Daily News (OH)
Copyright: 2015 Dayton Daily News
Author: Laura Bischoff


More than 300 people showed up for a public forum on Issue 3 recently 
conducted by Cox Media Group Ohio and the League of Women Voters at 
Sinclair Community College. Here are some of the questions from the 
audience, answered by our Statehouse reporter Laura Bischoff

Q: Will the cost of marijuana be determined and will it be as cheap 
as it is in the street now? How much of the cost will be decided by 
the government?

A: The market will determine the retail cost of legal marijuana. 
Legal manufacturers and product makers will pay a 15 percent flat tax 
and retailers will pay a five percent tax, plus other applicable 
business taxes. As a result, black market prices may still undercut 
the legal market prices. But buyers may be willing to pay a slightly 
higher price to know that it's legal and the product has been tested 
for safety, quality and potency.

Q: How will state law protect growers, sellers and purchasers since 
it is still illegal at the federal level?

A: It won't. Marijuana will still be considered a banned controlled 
substance under federal law.

Q: I hear that many people support marijuana legalization but are 
against Issue 3. Why? What are their concerns?

A: Many grassroots advocates for marijuana legalization do not like 
how Issue 3 would grant all the commercial growing operations to 10 
investor-controlled sites. Many also do not like the limits on home 
grow or the fact that home growers would be required to obtain a state license.

Q: Could marijuana legalization happen without amending the state constitution?

A: Yes. Lawmakers could change the state law or citizens could put 
forth a citizen-initiated statute to make the change.

Q: Will Issue 2 have any impact on the ability to home grow if both 
issues pass?

A: Yes. Issue 2 is designed in part to block Issue 3 from taking 
effect, even if Issue 3 passes. No home growing will be allowed 
unless Issue 3 takes effect.

Q: Who will be on the marijuana control commission?

A: The governor will appoint the seven members of the Ohio Marijuana 
Control Commission: a licensed physician, a sworn law enforcement 
officer, an attorney with administrative law experience, a patient 
advocate, a resident with business experience, a resident with 
experience in the legal marijuana industry and a public member. 
People who have elected office in the eight years prior aren't 
eligible for appointment.

Q: Will the investors' revenue be taxed or will they be tax exempt?

A: The state will levy a special 15 percent flat tax on the gross 
revenues of marijuana growers and marijuana processors and a 5 
percent tax on gross revenues of retail stores. The weed businesses 
will also pay the state's Commercial Activities Tax and other 
applicable business taxes. Medical marijuana dispensaries will pay 
the same taxes applied to other nonprofit organizations.

Q: The ResponsibleOhio website states a limit for the number of 
permit holders in one household, but the proposed amendment does not 
state a limit. Which is true?

A: People 21 or older will be allowed to grow, use, possess and share 
with other adults 21 and older homegrown marijuana. The limits are up 
to four flowering plants and eight ounces of usable weed at a given 
time. Homegrowers will be required to obtain a nontransferrable 
license that complies with Ohio Marijuana Control Commission rules. 
At a minimum, the rules will specify that home grow pot cannot be 
grown or consumed in public view and the growing must take place in 
an enclosed, locked space inaccessible to people under 21.

Q: Won't legal pot consumption add to the number of incapacitated 
drivers on the road?

A: The amendment says no person shall operate, navigate or be in 
control of a vehicle, aircraft, train or motorboat while under the 
influence of marijuana. InWashington state, where recreational weed 
was approved in 2012, data is unclear about whether that has led to 
an increase in people driving under the influence of marijuana. 
Researchers said more time is needed to collect data and crunch the numbers.

Q: Will Issue 3 end up criminalizing young folks who are underage if 
caught with marijuana?

A: If Issue 3 passes it would legalize marijuana purchase, possession 
and use for adults aged 21 and older. Unless current state law 
changes, penalties would stay in place for those younger than 21. In 
the 1970s, Ohio decriminalized possession of up to 100 grams of 
marijuana so violations are minor misdemeanors that can result in 
$150 fine but no jail time and no criminal record. Penalties and jail 
time for possession of more than 100 grams increase with the amounts.

Q: When the demand exceeds the market, how is the state going to 
establish who will be next for licensing?

A: If Issue 3 passes and the 10 growing sites aren't meeting market 
demand, in four years the Ohio Marijuana Control Commission may issue 
a license for an additional growing facility. The constitutional 
amendment also grants the commission authority to revoke the licenses 
of any of the 10 growers for failure to follow state regulations and 
license another grower elsewhere. The amendment doesn't spell out 
exactly how new licensees would be picked and it uses permissive 
language, meaning the state isn't required to allow more growers.

Q: Can renters grow marijuana?

A: The amendment is silent on whether renters would be allowed to 
home grow marijuana. Home growers would have to be 21 or older, apply 
for a state license, and keep the grow in an enclosed, locked space 
inaccessible to people under 21 years old. This is probably an area 
that would be spelled out in future lease agreements.

Q: If Issue 3 doesn't pass, how long before we can expect something 
else on the ballot for marijuana legalization?

A: There are mixed views on this. Some say another marijuana 
legalization proposal could emerge as early as 2016; others say it 
could be another 20 years. It takes substantial money and 
organization to collect 306,000 valid voter signatures to make the 
statewide ballot and then run a campaign in Ohio's multiple media 
markets to sway voters. The marijuana market in Ohio is estimated to 
far exceed $1 billion. So much like casino gambling, there is a huge 
profit incentive to push for legalization.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom