Why Some Pro-Pot Ohioans Are Against An Initiative To Legalize Marijuana

Although the issue of marijuana legalization can seem straightforward in many ways — either you want medical and recreational to be bought, sold and consumed legally or you don’t — a current initiative in Ohio that would amend the state’s constitution to allow legal pot is meeting resistance from some of the people who are usually in favor of the stuff.

NPR’s All Things Considered talked to folks in Yellow Springs, OH, a college town that I knew during my time living in nearby Dayton as a happy, hippie kind of place, where peace signs and tie-dye abound.

Though you might expect plenty of support around that area for marijuana legalization efforts, there are many people coming out against a measure that will be on the ballot this November, which would make Ohio the fifth state to legalize recreational and medical marijuana.

One 25-year-old woman who says she’s all for legalizing pot is one of those people opposed to the amendment.

“I would rather take the minor misdemeanor fine than let someone have such a massive monopoly in my state,” she says.

She and others who are generally pro-pot have taken issue with a group called ResponsibleOhio that’s pushing the initiative big time with a $20 million legalization campaign. The word “monopoly” has popped up amid opponents of the measure because it specifies only 10 locations in Ohio where growing pot would be allowed, and there are just 10 groups of investors who have laid claim to those spots. Basically, NPR’s Lewis Wallace notes, “they are paying to try to amend the Ohio Constitution to grant themselves pot growing rights.”

The group’s director doesn’t see it that way, however. Ian James says marijuana growing shouldn’t be treated like any old vegetable garden, because produce doesn’t make you high and pot does. Limiting the proposal to only 10 locations makes it easier to regulate and keep an eye on, and later a state-run control board can always add more locations.

“It’s certainly not a monopoly when thousands of Ohioans will be able to own and operate their own retail stores, their own testing facilities, their own manufacturing facilities,” he says.

Instead of voting this measure in, another group called Ohioans To End Prohibition is pushing for a different amendment next year that would create a free market for growers.

Pot supporters want legal pot and a bustling marijuana business in Ohio, says the young woman who spoke to NPR, but “not at the cost of putting that squarely into a few pockets. That’s just as bad as it is right now, where the money’s already in a few people’s pockets.

Fears Of Marijuana ‘Monopoly’ In Ohio Undercut Support For Legalization [All Things Considered]

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