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"What will we have next , 12 monopolies for whorehouses in the 12 largest counties?" -- Ohio Auditor Dave Yost
That right there is a good quote, and Ohio Auditor Dave Yost is as good as any statewide official at this stuff.
He and others, including Josh Mandel, sat down with the Associated Press to discuss the future plans for possible marijuana legalization in the Buckeye State. The proposal that's gained the most traction and headlines so far comes from ResponsibleOhio. That group doesn't have its ballot language out yet, but the gist of their plan would be this: Ohioans passing a Constitutional amendment that would a) legalize pot for anyone 21 and older, b) legalize pot for anyone with debilitating medical conditions, and c) limit growing this Ohio pot to "10 specified locations available to people who invest in the amendment effort."
ResponsibleOhio, as Cleveland.com points out and has covered, argues that this is not creating a monopoly, the brand of which Ohio has already been through when voters opted to pass an amendment that gave the Buckeye State casinos but also limited casino ownership to two groups. The ancillary market, the group argues, would create a ton of jobs and allow businesses to pop up making edibles and bongs and such.
That's a flimsy argument when the real cash — the crop itself — would then legally and solely be held by those handpicked folks. When you consider signing something, please be informed out there. Two or three other ballot initiatives are floating around that don't create this sort of monopoly.
To say that Yost was in opposition to the idea is an understatement. (See: above quote.) The rest of the GOP statewide officials also objected — Mike DeWine called it "stupid" to legalize pot at all; Mandel said something about employers having a hard time finding people who can pass a drug test. That last unsupported claim notwithstanding, the real meat and potatoes of this argument — in our opinion, isn't whether this isn't coming 'round the bend in Ohio (it is) or whether some form of a ballot initiative should be placed before the voters (it should), just that the ResponsibleOhio version is not the answer.