ResponsibleOhio Marijuana Legalization Model Makes Ballot, State Auditor Expresses Opposition: UPDATE

So about an hour after we posted this story, the state auditor's office certified ResponsibleOhio's signatures. The group's marijuana legalization model will be put to the voters on Nov. 3. 

Original story below:


According to at least one news story out of Cincinnati, ResponsibleOhio's Ian James is confident that the marijuana legalization campaign has gathered enough valid signatures to make it onto the Nov. 3 ballot. The official count isn't in just yet, though Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office is expected to certify the count and make an announcement as early as tomorrow. The group needs signatures from 305,591 registered Ohio voters to qualify.

Yost, meanwhile, has made his opposition to ResponsibleOhio's model clear.

Drawing an analogy to yellow oleomargarine prohibition in Ohio, Yost wrote a guest column that suggested that ResponsibleOhio's plan isn't the best for the state. The lesson is that Ohioans demonstrated the power to stand up to Big Dairy — and could, in the event ResponsibleOhio's plan passes into law later this year, stand down Big Weed. "A legalized, properly licensed market should be available to all comers, not just the few with the money to enshrine into the Ohio Constitution a monopoly for themselves," he wrote.

"Today, the self-proclaimed ResponsibleOhio is seeking an end to marijuana prohibition through the initiative process – but with a twist. If approved by voters, it would write into the Ohio Constitution the location of ten farms that would be allowed to grow marijuana, exclusively.

"A business plan shouldn't be written into the constitution."

Ohio voters shot down the margarine prohibition in 1949 via the ballot. It's an interesting historical lesson.

There are other marijuana legalization efforts being kicked pretty seriously around the state. ResponsibleOhio's is the only one we'll likely see as voters this fall. Yost, who bears no legislative duties in the Statehouse, is urging Ohio voters to keep in mind the long-term consequences of all plans.

"The political churn," as Yost creatively describes it, yielded cheap butter substitutes on the free market in Ohio. Imagine the heady nugs Ohioans could cultivate with such political energy.
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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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