We’ve reported extensively on Ohio’s controversial Ballot Issue 3, which would legalize recreational and medical marijuana in the state. We’ve also told you about a measure from the state legislature designed to nullify Issue 3 if it passes; this measure is now known as Issue 2.
On its surface Issue 2 seems like something voters would want; it keeps monopolies and such from getting on the ballot. I’m a free market kind of guy, so the more freedom, the better.
Here is what Issue 2 says: ”The Power of the initiative shall not be used to pass an amendment to this constitution that would grant or create a monopoly, oligopoly, or cartel, specify or determine a tax rate."
That last bit seems unnecessary, and it creates a problem. Many citizen initiatives “specify or determine a tax rate,” including those that seek to reform cannabis laws in the state. It’s such a problem that The Ohio Rights Group – not exactly a friend of the folks behind Issue 3 – recently came out against Issue 2.
Another problem some have is that Issue 2 is an attempt by the legislature to limit voter choice. Historically, that is never a good thing. If a measure is bad, voters can vote it down; at least that’s how it’s supposed to work in theory.
One thing is for sure: marijuana legalization in Ohio is going to be a contentious issue, one that may not be solved until long after Election Day. I’m sure all sides are preparing for eventual court battles, especially if both Issue 2 and Issue 3 pass this November.
No one said legalization would be easy, as activists are learning in Ohio this year. Now that it is seen as inevitable, people are beginning to focus on the details of legalization and how they can get their piece of the pie.