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Ohio’s Anti-Monopoly Amendment Could Trump ResponsibleOhio’s Legalization Efforts

Maureen Meehan

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There’s trouble in Ohio where pro-pot residents are not pleased with ResponsibleOhio's legalization effort that would create a pot industry dependent exclusively on 10 predetermined growing sites that are owned by wealthy financial backers of the amendment.

Critics say if the controversial Marijuana Legalization Amendment passes, this “pot-grower oligarchy” will become a constitutionally protected monopoly on marijuana production that will stifle competition and limit consumer choice, particularly among medical users.

What’s to be done? Ohio officials and lawmakers, with broad popular support, have decided to introduce an anti-monopoly amendment.

Now the question is: What happens if both constitutional amendments pass?

"Should both proposed measures be approved, the anti-monopoly amendment put forth by the legislature would go into effect first and its provision banning a monopoly from inclusion in the constitution would serve as an effective roadblock to ResponsibleOhio's amendment taking effect," Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted told Cleveland.com.

The Ohio Constitution, he explained, says if two conflicting amendments on the same ballot pass, the one that gets the most votes becomes law. But the constitution also says citizen-initiated amendments, such as the pot legalization amendment, become law 30 days after an election—whereas legislature-sponsored amendments become law immediately.

ResponsibleOhio spokeswoman Faith Oltman told Cleveland.com that the anti-monopoly amendment is targeted at legalization, not protecting the Constitution.

But many Ohioans beg to differ and are asking ResponsibleOhio and its well-healed funders to change their legalization strategy and unite for fairer statewide legalization.  

“[A] big concern for a lot of activists is that the next generation of leadership in the marijuana industry will be disconnected from the ideals that have pushed the movement forward,” Sri Kavuru, president of Ohioans to End Prohibition, told VICE News.

(Photo Courtesy of TheNationalMarijuanaNews.com)

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