Legalize It: Recreational Marijuana Looks Good To Ohio Investors

The marijuana business has blossomed into a $3 billion industry as states across the country consider legalization, and Ohio investors can’t wait to get a piece of the action.

From Oregon to Connecticut, four states and the District of Columbia have already legalized recreational marijuana and 10 more are considering it, including Ohio, which is facing a November 3 ballot initiative.

Issue 3 would legalize recreational marijuana use for citizens over 21. The catch is that the measure would create a monopoly by establishing 10 marijuana farms for the state, owned exclusively by investors, although citizens could grow their own marijuana, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

If it passes, Ohio will be the first state to legalize marijuana without first allowing it for medical use, and investors are already chomping at the bit.

SAN FRANCISCO - APRIL 24: A worker at the Alternative Herbal Health Services cannabis dispensary packages marijuana buds April 24, 2006 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Over the weekend investors and entrepreneurs in Ohio flocked to a seminar hosted by ResponsibleOhio, the group credited with putting the issue on the ballot. Attendees discussed marketing, finance, and activism in the marijuana industry.

During this weekend’s marijuana business conference, future investors considered selling paraphernalia, edibles, and T-shirts along with smokable marijuana. Alan Mooney, an Ohio investor, told Cleveland.com he was looking forward to the upcoming business opportunity.

“Ohio is going to dominate in this world, you guys are going to do that. You’re not just going to be in Ohio, this is just maybe where you’re getting started. You’re going to end up with an opportunity because the whole world is going to watch what we’re doing.”

If the ballot measure passes, Ohio would be able to issue 1,150 licenses — more than all the Starbucks and McDonald’s in the state.

Not everyone agrees with the Ohio ballot, as the legalization measure would effectively push low and middle income Ohio residents out of the marijuana business.

Legalize It: Legalizing Marijuana In Ohio Attracts Investors
MEAUX, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: A field of legal cannabis plants selected for their low content of THC grows on August 25, 2014 near Meaux, France. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

A coalition of law enforcement and medical groups named Ohions Against Marijuana Monopolies opposes the ballot initiative, saying the initiative is merely designed to enrich a few, spokeswoman Jen Detwiler told Cleveland.com.

“So far, it appears that the only ones supporting ResponsibleOhio’s plan are the limited number of wealthy investors backing the campaign who will financially benefit if the proposal passes.”

When November comes, voters will also be asked to vote on Issue 2, which would prohibit state-sponsored monopolies. If both initiatives pass, the issue will be decided in court.

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What do you think? Should Ohio legalize marijuana if it means creating state approved monopolies?

[Photo by Justin Sullivan / Sean Gallup / Getty Images]