Will Ohio be the Next State to Legalize Marijuana?

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Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and now… Ohio? Will the political battleground state become the new battleground state for recreational marijuana?

If you follow college football, chances are that you already are familiar with the shiny, five-pointed Buckeye leaf that adorns the helmets of the nation’s top ranked football team, the Ohio State Buckeyes. But if promoters of the ResponsibleOhio marijuana legalization initiative prevail, the Buckeye leaf may soon be competing with the seven-pointed marijuana leaf for space in the hearts of Ohioans. That is because Ohio is poised to become the first state in the Midwest to legalize medical and personal use of marijuana for persons who are at least 21 years old.

According to Ballotpedia.org, if Issue 3 passes on November 3, 2015, recreational users would be permitted to possess up to one ounce of grass and persons possessing a doctor’s note would have access to medical marijuana. Moreover, Ohioans who wished to grow their own weed for personal use would be permitted to grow four flowering plants at a given time with a cultivation license. Ohio’s new pot industry would be overseen by the Ohio Marijuana Control Commission, which would establish 10 growing locations and license marijuana product manufacturing facilities.

Passage of Issue 3 is by no means a sure thing. ResponsibleOhio, which collected more than 700,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot, may spend as much as $20 million between now and Election Day. The campaign would include advertising on all platforms, a bus tour, voter registration drives and local canvassing.

Issue 3 is controversial because of the monopoly it gives to the Ohio Marijuana Control Commission.  Unlike Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska, which have all allowed individual farmers to grow and sell to dispensaries, only the 10 growing locations already owned by investors in ResponsibleOhio would be allow to sell marijuana to dispensaries, leading to opposition leaders arguing a monopoly would negate any economic benefit, especially considering ResponsibleOhio wrote the law in such a way that would exempt the investors from income tax.

Ohio’s ranking Republicans oppose Issue 3. Gov. John Kasich, now campaigning nationwide for the Republican nomination for President, had previously said that if he were elected President, he probably would not go after states that now have legal marijuana, like Colorado and Washington. But after the Ohio Secretary of State announced that ResponsibleOhio’s petitions had qualified for the ballot, Gov. Kasich’s press secretary said that Gov. Kasich is opposed to the amendment.

Check back for any updates regarding Issue 3, and find the best dispensaries and deals here.

 

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