Although Ohio lawmakers haven’t passed legislation to legalize a cannabis industry on their own terms, they recently filed an anti-monopoly initiative against ResponsibleOhio, which could put the kibosh on the group’s attempt at ending statewide prohibition in the upcoming November election.
State officials recently announced the hierarchy of domination in regards to several initiatives slated for the state’s November ballot. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said that regardless if voters approve ResponsibleOhio’s ballot measure to legalize weed, it would not be allowed to pass as long as the opposing initiative, which was filed by the General Assembly, also receives majority support.
“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,” Husted said in a statement.
Interestingly, this is not the way competitive proposals are typically hashed out in an election. In almost every situation in which two ballot initiatives are battling it out in the polls, it is the one that finishes with the most votes that reigns victorious.
Yet, the state does not plan to adhere to this common sense election policy as it pertains to these two proposed amendments. Instead, as long as the General Assembly’s initiative wins, regardless if more voters approve legal cannabis, it would prevent ResponsibleOhio from moving forward with their plan.
“Should the legislature’s amendment be approved at the ballot box, it will establish dominance and prevent ResponsibleOhio’s provision from taking a place in the state’s constitution,” Husted said.
Earlier this week, the Ohio Ballot Board devised a ballot summary for ResponsibleOhio’s initiative, forcing supporters to challenge the language. The state has essentially used the summary to demonize the measure by suggesting that voters might be casting a vote that would allow dispensaries to open near schools and playgrounds, as well as give cannabis businesses free reign over communities.
ResponsibleOhio says the summary is “fear mongering,” and they plan to take the issue up soon with the Ohio Supreme Court.
“I think there are factual inaccuracies in the proposed language and I think that is unfair to Ohio voters to put inaccurate information before them on the ballot,” State Representative Kathleen Clyde told The Dayton Daily News.
ResponsibleOhio has already achieved a bad reputation with prohibitionists and pot proponents alike. Admittedly, the group is proposing an industry with less than desirable opportunities for free market trade, but they are also working to end prohibition – an important aspect that many people have not taken into consideration.
What do you think about the anti-monopoly initiative against ResponsibleOhio? Share your opinion in the comments.