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Oh: Marijuana Initiative Takes Hits From Gop‏

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Website: http://www.dispatch.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/93
Author: Alan Johnson


A ballot initiative to legalize marijuana and create a forprofit
industry was ripped yesterday by some of Ohio's top elected
officials, who called it "outrageous" and a "stupid idea" to create a
dangerous constitutional monopoly.

"I don't know (if) I've ever seen a worse idea than this," Secretary
of State Jon Husted said at a Columbus forum sponsored by the Associated Press.

Auditor Dave Yost called it "outrageous we are creating business
monopolies by ballot issues. ... What's next, 12 monopolies for
whorehouses in the 12 largest counties?"

Four of the top five Republican nonjudicial officeholders - Gov. John
Kasich was not there - slammed ResponsibleOhio's plan to give 10
individuals or investor groups who fund the campaign exclusive rights
to operate one of 10 businesses in the lucrative "growth and
cultivation of marijuana and the extraction of cannabinoids." The
goal is to put the issue to public vote this November.

Treasurer Josh Mandel joked that legalization would boost "the sale
of Girl Scout cookies." But he said it would also worsen an existing
jobmarket problem with prospective job applicants failing drug tests.

Two legislative leaders added their voices to the chorus of
opposition later yesterday. President Keith Faber, R-Celina, said he
has "grave concern ... with this new trend of people proposing things
that give certain individuals constitutionally protected property
rights. I'm really concerned about what that does for democracy."

House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, likewise said he's
not a fan of the initiative.

But Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, suggested the
state should look into medical marijuana. "We have a lot of young
people with medical problems. If this plant can help them, then I
think we should consider it."

Attorney General Mike DeWine, speaking at the AP event, said bluntly,
"This is a stupid idea."

"I don't see how anyone could be in favor of granting a monopoly to
make money selling marijuana," he added.

DeWine and Husted are in unusual positions because they will have to
deal with the proposal in their official capacities. DeWine will
review the ballot language submitted to determine whether it is a
fair summary of the proposed amendment. And Husted, as chairman of
the Ohio Ballot Board, will help determine whether the proposal
constitutes one or more issues.

ResponsibleOhio spokeswoman Lydia Bolander responded to the comments,
saying the "decision about whether to pass this amendment will be
made by voters, not politicians."

"Let's stop kidding ourselves: Marijuana prohibition has failed.
Ohioans are sick of wasting $120 million per year to enforce that
failure and deny patients the medical marijuana that would ease their
suffering. ResponsibleOhio's plan will create a tightly regulated,
safe, open and transparent market, bringing much-needed revenue to
our communities and creating thousands of jobs."

Under ResponsibleOhio's plan, tax revenue levied on marijuana sales
is projected to reach tens of millions of dollars annually and would
be distributed on a percapita basis. The plan would allocate 55
percent to a municipal fund, 30 percent to a county fund and 15
percent to a fund to pay for nonprofit medical marijuana
dispensaries, addiction and treatment programs, and marijuana research.

Dispatch Reporter Jim Siegel contributed to this story.

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Website: http://www.dispatch.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/93
Author: Alan Johnson


Some of the investors in a for-profit marijuana ballot issue were
revealed yesterday, including basketball legend Oscar Robertson and
fashion designer Nanette Lepore.

But Ohioans still aren't getting the list of all investors or being
told how much individuals gave.

ResponsibleOhio, the group proposing a constitutional amendment to
legalize marijuana for personal recreational and medicinal use,
reported raising $1.78 million and spending $1.34 million on its campaign.

Reports filed with Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted cited total
amounts contributed, but no individuals were listed. Instead, there
are investment groups, headquartered in Cincinnati and Chicago, which
each contributed from $20,000 to $150,000.

The proposal would ask Ohio voters this November to decide whether
the state should legalize marijuana for recreational and medical use.
It would create 10 growing centers around the state, funded by
individual investors or investor groups. The proposal would also
establish a structure for retail sellers and provide for centers for
distribution of medical marijuana to those with qualifying illnesses.
The plan calls for assessing a flat 15 percent tax on revenue from
growing, manufacturing and selling marijuana.

Also yesterday, ResponsibleOhio released the names of about a dozen
individual investors, including Robertson, an All-American at the
University of Cincinnati and former pro-basketball star. Robertson
said in a statement that he decided to invest because of the need for
medical marijuana. "It's a terrible feeling when you can't help
someone suffering from cancer or another debilitating medical
condition - I know from personal experience. But medical marijuana
can give our loved ones relief. I'm part of ResponsibleOhio because I
want to be part of making this change a reality."

Lepore, the sister of state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan, D-Youngstown,
explained in a statement why she was investing. "This is an
incredible opportunity for places like my hometown of Youngstown to
generate significant dollars for things like road and bridge repair,
which in turn will create thousands of needed jobs."

Other investors include campus real-estate developer Rick Kirk, NFL
player Frostee Rucker, Cincinnati radio-station owner Frank Wood,
entrepreneur Sir Alan Mooney of Columbus, Cincinnati sports
agent-businessman James Gould, philanthropist William Foster, finance
executives William "Cheney" Pruett and John Humphrey, real-estate
developer Bobby George, and Cincinnati philanthropist Barbara Gould.

The group must gather 305,591 valid signatures of Ohio registered
voters to place the issue on the November ballot. Language for the
amendment could be submitted as soon as next week.

All five statewide elected non-judicial officials, including Gov.
John Kasich, have said they oppose the issue.

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Wow... dont know much anything about ohio's politics, but seems like someone didnt get a down payment on their new summer lake house. Tisk, tisk, tisk... envelopes gotta get out.


Well, good on em for calling it what it is... too bad illinois wasn't of the same mindset. And hopefully we don't fall prey to something similar.


But wb... in reality, we do quite a bit to establish & preserve monolopy like practices in most American industry... just call it by a different name. Ohio's position is almost anti-american. ;-)

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Ballot initiatives are usually funded by vested interests, or opposed by them.  Usually by already established vested interests.  These howls are due to the ballot issue being funded by prospective vested interests. (think mattty malroun and his $40 million campaign that opposed a second bridge).

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