Although the mission behind a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio in 2016 has been met with a great deal of criticism, the collation behind this effort just received a major endorsement that could serve as a strong arm of persuasion to successfully launch a cannabis industry in the heart of America.
Earlier this week, ResponsibleOhio, the organization currently collecting signatures to get their initiative to legalize marijuana on the ballot in the next presidential election, earned the support of the three largest labor unions in the state – a collective force that represents about 70,000 working class citizens all over Ohio.
According to reports, these unions, which negotiate on behalf of retail employees for companies like CVS and Kroger, have decided to stand in support of legalized marijuana because the communities that make up the state’s collective workforce would greatly benefit from the advent of new jobs.
“The executive board of these locals, which are made up of rank-and-file members, made a decision to support this proposal because we want to make sure that we have good jobs in the new legal marijuana industry,” Laurie Couch, a representative of United Food and Commercial Workers, told Cincinnati.com.
This endorsement, which is comprised of Locals 75, 880 and 1059, carries a substantial amount of weight in the cities of Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo, as well as Cleveland and Columbus. In standing with ResponsibleOhio, the unions have taken an interest in not only assisting the initiative in its passage, but to also ensure the laborers employed by the cannabis industry receive a living wage, plenty of hours, and a reasonable benefits package.
The joining of the labor unions in ResponsibleOhio’s push to legalize marijuana does not come as a surprise to some people, who believe the group is attempting to establish a legal cannabis trade under cartel philosophy. While coalitions in other states are typically comprised of longtime pot activists, ResponsibleOhio is made up of wealthy investment types that want to create a commission that will only allow 10 farms, which they already own, to supply the state’s recreational pot market – completely eliminating the concept of free trade.
Interestingly, another group, Better for Ohio, recently launched an almost identical initiative to the one drafted by the folks of ResponsibleOhio. Their proposal, however, allows four times as many cultivation sites, as well as provisions that would allow home grows – just enough of a difference, they say, to get voters to side with their initiative instead. Yet, ResponsibleOhio is not happy with the group’s strategy to sabotage their master plan, and have since asked them to join forces.
“We ask this group to do the right thing and formally endorse our amendment, joining with the over 160,000 Ohioans who have signed our petition so far,” said Lydia Bolander, a representative for ResponsibleOhio. “Our proposal is the only way to smother the black market while providing patients with the compassionate care of medical marijuana for treatment and creating tens of thousands of new jobs for Ohioans.”
Although Attorney General Mike DeWine rejected Better for Ohio’s proposal last week, the group is not expected to side with the proposed monopoly.