When they go to the polls Tuesday to vote on Issue 3, which allows both medicinal and recreational use, they will have to decide if they want legalization at all costs or want to hold out for pot with principles.
For they can’t have both.
Imbedded in the proposed Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative is the stipulation that commercial growing rights be given to only 10 marijuana farms. That means a very few already rich people – think big campaign donors and celebrity investors — are going to get a lot richer.
And that goes against everything marijuana stands for, say the peace-and-love-and-rock-and-roll activists who have been fighting to get it legalized for 40 years.
But, those 10 high-roller growers that have banded together under the name Responsible Ohio want the gentle hippie-type proponents to wake up and smell the flowers: It takes money to make money.
Well, that’s a gentle way of putting what Responsible Ohio’s main man, Ian James, says about the balking. The owner of a Columbus, Ohio, consulting firm drops f-bombs like crazy in his responses to critics of his proposed marijuana monopoly.
A turncoat of sorts, or, at very least, an opportunist, James was working for the medical-marijuana championing Ohio Rights Group (ORG) when, ORG said, he handpicked staff members to form, with their own agenda, rival group Responsible Ohio.
So what does the betrayed ORG and other long-time activist groups like the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) do?
As you can imagine, they are torn. It seems they are fence-sitting, most offering tepid or non-endorsement endorsements.
But, no fence-sitting for voters. They’ll have to ask themselves what side to jump on election day.
In addition, another hurdle has been placed before Responsible Ohio: Issue 2.
The Ohio Initiated Monopolies Amendment, if passed, would invalidate initiatives – Issue 3 among them – that establish economic monopolies.
Issue 3 has to pass and Issue 2 has to fail for legalization – and for Responsible Ohio to be able to establish its 10-grower system.
Oh, voters, if it matters, Issue 3 also allows each adult individual to have four marijuana plants for his or her own use.