The great citizens of Ohio go to the polls on Tuesday to vote on Issue 3, the Marijuana Legalization Amendment. Currently, the polls are showing that the voters are split down the middle on whether to pass the legislation which would add a new section to the Ohio Constitution legalizing marijuana.
What is confusing for voters is that there are actually two amendments for them to vote on. Issue 3 legalizes marijuana. Very simple. Issue 2 doesn’t specifically address marijuana, but instead bans anyone from using Ohio’s constitution to create a monopoly. Confused? Apparently, so are many voters.
The controversy stems from one of the unique features of the amendment that would initially provide for ten site-specific locations for grow facilities operated by separate companies that would compete on price and quality. The interpretation of this language is that it creates a monopoly by only allowing these companies to grow medical marijuana. No other companies could enter the space, effectively creating a monopoly with these ten investors. The growers can’t sell directly to the public.
If Issue 2 passes, it could prevent Issue 3 from being enacted. The goal behind Issue 2 was to keep marijuana from being legalized. By keeping the word marijuana out of the legislative language, most voters would read it and think a ban on monopolies is a good thing.
If both issues pass, many expect that a long legal battle could take place as it would be left up to the courts to decide if Issue 2 negates Issue 3.
A Bowling Green State University poll released last week found 44 percent of the voters in favor and 43 percent against, but 13 % were undecided. Another poll from the University of Akron reported 46 percent favored the amendment 46 percent were against it. The poll found more knew about Issue 3, but less understood Issue 2.
Issue 3 also goes into more detail about the program like approving of manufacturing of marijuana infused products. If approved, there would be over 1,100 business licenses for retail, dispensary and manufacturing. It would also establish the Ohio Marijuana Control Commission to regulate the industry. Ohioans over 21 would purchase a license from the commission and then could use, possess, grow, cultivate and share up to 4 plants per license and the grow area must be in an enclosed space. Anyone 21 and older with or without a license could purchase, possess, transport, use and share up to one ounce of marijuana. A person with a medical condition could legally use medical marijuana.
The investors include some minor celebrities like Nick Lachey, former 98 Degrees singer and Jessica Simpson’s ex-husband. Woody Taft, a descendent of President William Howard Taft. A former Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Frostee Rucker and Dayton pain specialist Suresh Gupta to name a few.
The marijuana would be taxed with a flat rate of 15% and retail stores would be taxed with a flat rate of 5 %. The tax revenue would be split three ways. 55% to the city, 30% to the county and 15 % to the Marijuana Control Commission Fund.
This article was written by Debra Borchardt from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.