Pubdate: Sun, 01 Nov 2015
Source: Hudson Hub-Times (OH)
Copyright: 2015 Record Publishing Co, LLC.


Ohio voters have an opportunity to legalize marijuana for recreational
and medicinal use, while licensing its commercial sale on a statewide

They also will decide whether commercial monopolies should be denied a
place in the state constitution.

And should they pass both issues on the November ballot, one will
nullify the other.

That's the story on Issue 2, which deals with commercial monopolies,
among other things, and Issue 3, the controversial initiative that
would legalize marijuana.

If Issue 2 passes, the marijuana issue cannot be implemented even if
it, too, receives a mandate.

Upon close scrutiny, both issues leave us with reservations. And, for
that reason, we recommend a "No" vote on Issue 2 and Issue 3.

Issue 2 supporters present it as a straightforward measure that would
prohibit the Ohio Constitution from creating monopolies or cartels,
such as the one proposed by Issue 3, which would limit commercial
marijuana growing to 10 specific sites.

We could support Issue 2 if it was that simple, but it isn't. The
measure received hasty consideration by the legislature in its rush to
come up with a response to the marijuana initiative, and perhaps
because of that, contains potential loopholes that are troubling.

Issue 2 is broadly worded, with a reference to prohibiting the
constitution from conferring preferential treatment on any "special
interest, privilege, benefit, right, or license," but fails to define
those terms. As one observer noted, one person's special interest is
another person's public interest.

Passage of Issue 2 could hobble future citizen-initiated ballot
measures and likely would spur further legal challenges, perhaps
starting immediately if both issues happen to pass in November.

Our reservations with Issue 3 have less to do with marijuana and more
to do with its monopoly aspect.

The merits of whether marijuana should be legalized in Ohio are
debatable. The case could be made for strictly regulated medicinal use
on a prescription basis, but we continue to question opening the door
to it being freely used and privately cultivated for recreational
purposes. And, while Issue 3's provisions only apply to Ohioans age 21
and over, the potential for abuse by younger users remains. We also
have reservations about legalizing storefront marijuana

We are most troubled by the monopoly aspect of Issue 3. If it passes,
10 large-scale marijuana growers would have the exclusive right to
grow marijuana for commercial sale in Ohio. Their ability to do so
would be enshrined in the state's basic document of governance, to the
exclusion of smaller, agricultural interests. Any attempt to change
this would require another constitutional amendment.

Not surprisingly, those who stand to benefit from the lucrative market
for commercial marijuana have contributed heavily to the campaign for
Issue 3.

Monopolies don't belong in the Ohio Constitution, and creating legal
loopholes in the process of keeping them out isn't the answer, either.
We urge a "No" vote on Issues 2 and 3.
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MAP posted-by: Matt