COLUMBUS, Oh. — Competing amendments have created a series of bizarre arguments in the push to legalize marijuana in neighboring Ohio. Voters in the Buckeye State go the polls on Tuesday with two related, yet conflicted measures on the ballot.
Issue Two would establish it is illegal to create a monopoly using the state Constitution. Issue Three would legalize the growing and sale of marijuana, but would limit the number of people who could grow and sell pot to those with a single organization which has pushed for the legalization.
“You have ten very rich investors who have decided they would like to have marijuana legal in Ohio,” said reporter Mark Nuce of WMNI in Columbus. “Also, issue three would give them exclusive rights to be the only growers and sellers of marijuana.”
Several well known names are part of the organization called Responsible Ohio. Oscar Robertson, Nick Lachey, and former Bengals player Frosty Rucker have signed onto the idea in hopes of a windfall in profits.
“Millionaires who’d like to be billionaires through the marijuana trade,” Nuce said. “They’d give themselves exclusive rights through the Ohio constitution to sell it.”
The campaign, which has spent more than $25 Million dollars, has forced some strange bedfellows to oppose the measure. Nuce said many who would normally favor legalization of pot have chosen up sides with opponents of legal weed because the infusion of the monopoly question complicated the debate.
“There are people of good will who say, ‘You know I’m not really for marijuana and we should have it for medical use.” There are others who say, ‘The war on drugs hasn’t worked out so well and I think we should decriminalize it,'” said Nuce. “But we can’t have that conversation with this issue because it’s so convoluted.”
Passage of both measures could create a Constitutional crises in Ohio and very likely regardless of Tuesday’s outcome the measure may be headed straight to the courts for a long and protracted fight.