Ohio Pot Legalization Vote: Everything You Need To Know About Issue 3

The Ohio pot legalization amendment, Issue 3, would allow recreational use of marijuana in the Buckeye State. Voters can pass the cannabis law and have the measure still fail to be enacted. Ohio Issue 2 directly impacts Ohio Issue 3.

Ohio Issue 3 is accompanied on the ballot by Issue 2. The proposed amendment was added to the election day list by state lawmakers. The politicians were reportedly concerned that the pot legalization amendment would give a monopoly to the marijuana growing facilities involved in the Issue 3 plan.

Secretary of State Jon Husted said Ohio Issue 2 would invalidate Issue 3 if both were to pass. Claims by supporters of the amendment deny such a scenario would develop. There are definite flaws with the Ohio marijuana legalization bill, but many voters feel it is at least a step in the right direction.

Although the ability to grow and possess up to eight ounces of pot in your home or on your property was viewed as a big win by marijuana fans and non-tokers who focused on the personal liberty aspect associated with issue, the location of the growing facilities and the monopoly on commercial growing has left a distinctly sour taste in the mouths of some voters.

The Ohio pot legalization amendment would create 10 Marijuana Growth, Cultivation and Extraction (MGCE) facilities in the state. All 10 facilities would possess exclusive rights to commercial production of marijuana, and all are located in urban areas.

Several folks in the rural regions of Ohio already know how to grow pot. They have been doing it illegally, of course, but these people have the skills required to do the job. What’s more, the southern portion of the state, where Meigs, Vinton, and Athens counties are located, could really use the jobs and tax revenue. Approximately half of the land in many counties in the impoverished southeastern region of Ohio are owned by either the state or the federal government.

The shrinking tax base in the southeastern region of the state has caused extreme belt-tightening by essential service providers, such as fire, police, and emergency medical services. There is no need to reinvent the wheel if the Ohio marijuana legalization amendment passes, as skilled workers who have had plenty of “on-the-job” training await in an area where the cost of land acquisition and taxes are low. Meigs County Gold was known nationwide, perhaps worldwide during the 1970s, so why not tap into that vast amount of cannabis growing knowledge and help the most economic struggling area of the state in the process?

The negative aspect of creating a monopoly is self-apparent, but at least the common sense defying criminalization of cannabis would come to an end in Ohio. How legal is any state law that defies an existing federal law? The elected officials in sanctuary cities are not in jail, so it is doubtful that Ohio commercial pot growing execs will wind up behind bars. The federal marijuana prohibition statute is long overdue for change, and it has worked no better to curb usage than the Volstead Act did in the 1920s — but that’s an argument for another day.

The following is an excerpt from the Ballopedia Ohio Issue 3 amendment synopsis.

“The MGCE facilities would be run independently to prevent collusion, as required by the Sherman Antitrust Act. There would be no vertical integration of marijuana businesses, meaning that those who cultivated the plants could not also sell directly to the public. Property owners agreed to let the 300 people that each facility expects to employ unionize and collectively bargain.”

The unionization of the Ohio pot workers is also a hotly debated and controversial topic. If the staffers are forced into a closed shop situation instead of being permitted to take a vote on being able to collectively bargain, a backlash will likely ensure. Many Ohioans are an independent lot and prefer to be paid what they are worth. When everyone receives the same wage and raise despite work performance, there is often less incentive to work hard, and getting rid of poor quality workers is a massive struggle when dealing with threats of litigation by union bosses.

If Ohio Issue 3 passes, access to a natural medication will finally become available. Synthetic versions of cannabis are routinely used in prescription drugs. Garnering healing benefits from a plant grown in the earth instead of a mixture of components grown in a lab surely should be seen as a net positive for sufferers of various conditions and diseases.

Ohio Pot Legalization – Issue 3 Highlights

  • Retail marijuana stores would only be permitted to sell pot from MGCE facilities and “marijuana-infused products” from state licensed manufacturing facilities.
  • The total number of marijuana retail stores in Ohio would be limited by a ratio of one store for every 10,000 Ohioans. Using the state’s current population figures, that would allow for a maximum of 1,159 retail stores.
  • Marijuana stores would not be permitted to be located within 1,000 feet of a house of worship, public library, public or chartered elementary or secondary school, state-licensed day care center, or public playground. Voters in the precinct where a store would be located must approve the establishment of such a business at a specific address.
  • Medical marijuana would only be sold at licensed not-for-profit dispensaries to individuals and would require a note from a doctor. The Ohio Marijuana Control Commission would create rules for such dispensaries and fund operational costs.
  • Marijuana tax revenue would be distributed in three ways. A total of 55 percent of revenue would go to the Municipal and Township Government Stabilization Fund, 30 percent to the Strong County Fund, and 15 percent to the Marijuana Control Commission Fund.

You cannot legislate morality. Keeping marijuana illegal makes it an attractive taboo for teens and young adults. Although I smoked pot in college (and unlike Bill Clinton had the good sense to inhale), I have no desire to try marijuana again. As a Constitutional Libertarian, I feel consenting adults should be able to do whatever they want with their bodies and engage in any activity that does not harm others. Get behind the wheel of a car or steal to fund your pot habit, behind bars you should go.

If making an action illegal would prevent crime, there would never be another arrest made for underage consumption, DUI, murder, rape, and so on. Put drug dealers out of business by making marijuana legal and free up the time of our local heroes to focus upon true crimes in our community — support Ohio Issue 3.

[Image via Shutterstock]