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Ohio: Flawed Marijuana Legalization Bill Rejected By Voters


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Ohio voters have rejected a controversial marijuana legalization initiative that would have set aside all of the state's cultivation licenses for the drafters themselves. Issue 3 would have restricted commercial marijuana production to the 10 properties owned by the principal investors in the initiative.

Issue 3 trailed 35-65 percent with 43 percent of precincts reporting and The Columbus Dispatch called the election.

The initiative was a first in many respects: the first marijuana reform campaign funded almost entirely by "investors" who would benefit financially from the initiative, the first initiative to restrict commercial production to a limited number of sites owned by the major investors in the ballot initiative, and the first to appear simultaneously on the ballot with another initiative -- Issue 2 -- that seeks to nullify the legalization initiative. If it had won, it also would have made Ohio the first state to legalize marijuana without first legalizing it only for medical purposes.

“The defeat of the Ohio measure in no way slows down the revolution taking place across the country to end the failed prohibition of marijuana," said Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon). "Many legalization supporters were skeptical the measure under consideration was the right approach in Ohio. I look forward to seeing more states join Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and the District of Columbia in legalizing marijuana the right way.

Ohio: Poll Shows Support For Marijuana Legalization, But Not Issue 3


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new public opinion poll shows that nearly half of Northeast Ohio residents have tried marijuana, and most support some form of legalization -- but they aren't so sure about Issue 3.

Medical marijuana receives overwhelming support at 83 percent, according to the Baldwin Wallace University Community Research Institute poll released on Monday, reports Jackie Borchardt of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. A smaller majority, 55 percent, favor legalizing possession of marijuana for personal use.

But just 43 percent of respondents said they were likely or very likely to vote for Issue 3, the marijuana legalization measure on the November 3 ballot. About 38 percent said they'd likely not vote for Issue 3, and almost 20 percent were undecided.

"That lukewarm level of support may reflect the complexity of the ballot issue," said Lauren Copeland, associate director of the Community Research Institute and political science professor.

Issue 3, sponsored by "ResponsibleOhio," would legalize recreational and medical marijuana for adults 21 and older -- but commercial cannabis could only be grown at 10 sites belonging to, you guessed it, the wealthy investors who are bankrolling the initiative.

Ohio adults could grow up to four mature marijuana plants in a secure, private area at home, after obtaining a homegrow license.

Ohio: Medical Marijuana Research Center Planned For Grow Site


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A nonprofit cannabis research institute plans to build a $24 million facility in Ohio and offer medical marijuana insurance if recreational legalization measure Issue 3 passes on November 3.

The International Cannabinoid Institute, a new Ohio-based nonprofit, announced on Tuesday it will rent land in Licking County from, you guessed it, investors who are backing the marijuana legalization ballot issue.

Issue 3 would legalize recreational and medical marijuana sales and use, but would limit commercial growing to just 10 sites owned by the wealthy investors who financed the measure.

Opposition has arisen to Issue 3 because of how it limits commercial growing to those who financed the ballot issue, reports Jackie Borchardt of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. The preselection of site owners means that only investors in ResponsibleOhio, the political action committee backing the measure, would get to participate in the new marijuana cultivation industry.

Wealthy investors have contributed more than $20 million to the campaign, which would basically enshrine their marijuana monopoly into the state constitution.

Ohio: Fears Of Marijuana Monopoly Undercut Support For Legalization Measure


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

If a ballot measure says "legalization" on it, it's always good, right? RIGHT? Maybe not.

A proposal that could this November make Ohio the fifth state to legalize recreational marijuana is drawing some unusual opposition -- and it's coming from residents who support legalizing marijuana, reports Lewis Wallace at NPR.

Lots of liberals and old hippies don't like the monopoly aspect of the referendum. Samantha Van Ness, 25, said that while she's all for legalizing cannabis, she's dead set against the amendment that will be on November's ballot.

"I would rather take the minor misdemeanor fine than let someone have such a massive monopoly in my state," she said. And that's reflected statewide among many who have problems with the initiative and with the group, ResponsibleOhio, that's pushing it.

One of the biggest reasons why is that the initiative specifies just 10 locations in the state where growing marijuana would be allowed. And, guess what? Ten groups of investors already have those sites locked down, ladies and gentlemen.

Those same investors -- surprise, surprise! -- are sinking $20 million into the campaign to make sure their massively profitable monopoly comes to pass. "So in essence," reports NPR, "they are paying to try to amend the Ohio Constitution to grant themselves pot growing rights."

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