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Ohio Legislator Calls Cannabis Reform Group a ‘Cartel’

Mark Miller

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On Monday, Ohio State Rep. Mike Curtin (D-Marble Cliff) issued a memo to his fellow Democrats requesting support for a resolution urging voters to reject a potential state constitutional amendment that would legalize cannabis for medical and recreational purposes.

The amendment is backed by ResponsibleOhio, and if made law by voters, would allow the organization’s 10 selected investor groups to cultivate and sell marijuana to Ohio residents who are 21 years old and over.

Curtin’s resolution suggests the proposed pot legalization model would blight the Ohio Constitution.

“This amendment would create a cartel in our state’s foundational document,” Curtin said.

Curtin’s “cartel” comment refers to the controversy over ResponsibleOhio’s decision to only permit a select group of investors to exclusively cash in on the ‘green rush’ of legal pot. The amendment was modified in February to enable individuals to obtain a license to grow up to four indoor plants solely for personal use.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, ResponsibleOhio has already collected over 250,000 signatures of registered voters—as well as earned support from Ohio’s labor unions—and only 305,591 valid signatures are officially required by July 1 for the amendment to qualify in time for the November 3 ballot.

Curtin emphasized he does not personally oppose pot legalization, but that in his view, any attempts at cannabis reform should be derived via the legislative process, “not the Ohio Constitution.”

However, should Curtin’s resolution gain sufficient traction in the state House of Representatives to pass, it is ultimately non-binding, and therefore, not an enforceable law.

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