COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio House has passed a fast-moving proposal that some say could block an effort to legalize marijuana if both issues are approved by voters.
The House voted 81-12 Wednesday in favor of the resolution, which aims to make it harder to amend the constitution with ballot issues that provide commercial economic benefits to few individuals or create such monopolies.
One group seeking marijuana legalization wants to create 10 designated grow sites around Ohio. Legislative leaders and others opposed say that’s misusing the Ohio Constitution for business interests.
The anti-monopoly resolution would need approval from the Legislature and then voters. It must clear the Legislature with a three-fifths majority before Aug. 5 to appear on fall ballots.
Some opponents argue the proposal is too broad and could have unintended consequences.
While the proposed joint resolution does not specifically name ‘Responsible Ohio’ or the group’s efforts it is clear it would create huge problems for the group’s efforts.
Even some registered Ohio voters who are inclined to be for medical marijuana believe there is a place for regulation if it were to become legal.
“Somehow we would have to have some kind of regulation and somebody involved in overseeing it,” said Christy Black of Uniontown, a nurse who does not object to people being able to legally buy medical marijuana if they have a doctor’s prescription for it.
But other voters understand the state lawmakers concern about using the constitution to help create a for profit enterprise to the exclusion of others.
“You risk making a slippery slope out of this like just allowing just a few people to do this,” said Jude Meniru of Canton.
“With legalization there’s other people that might be able to profit from this. But if that’s the the only company that’s going to be able to profit from it I don’t think it should be fair,” said Ashley Halasa of Akron.
If both proposals make it to the November ballot some voters believe it will only make the question of legalizing marijuana in Ohio more confusing.
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