Not only should marijuana be legal in Ohio, there is a huge benefit from legalizing it. The issue is that Ohio is setting itself up to do it all wrong with Issue 3.
Ohio is an influential state
Ohio is known as a swing state in federal elections, and that could work in favor of marijuana legalization at the federal level. While this makes many activists happy, it could be bad for Ohioans.
Issue 3 is a proposal that will legalize marijuana both medical and recreational. While individuals will be able to grow a limited number of plants, they will not be able to sell it. This means that small and medium sized marijuana dispensaries will be illegal unlike Colorado. There will be ten large corporations that will be allowed to sell commercially. They are backed by a select few, and it is this few that will benefit from the legalization. It will create a monopoly, and the prices will likely be higher than in states where it is not a monopoly.
Having this monopoly will just encourage the illegal selling and trafficking of marijuana to avoid the high cost of the monopolized Ohio market, much in the same way states like New York deal with cigarette smuggling to avoid New York ' s high taxes. One of the issues that marijuana legalization is supposed to solve is the stress on the criminal justice system regarding drug offenses. Issue 3 will create a lucrative black market and not help the criminal justice system in Ohio at all.
Marijuana has been shown to relieve some medical conditions, such as pain. If someone doesn't have the means to grow their own plants, they may not be able to afford the monopolized marijuana. It will create hardship for them, which contradicts the principles of the medicinal marijuana advocates.
If Issue 3 does pass in Ohio, it will change Ohio’s constitution. As long as marijuana is not legalized federally, any changes made to the new constitutional amendment will need to go through a long process in order to get changed.
The concept of marijuana legalization is supposed to be progressive and benefit the masses, but Issue 3 is anything but. Ohio, as well as every other state that hasn't done so already, needs to legalize marijuana. It is important though that Ohioans consider reproaching the subject in a different way than what Issue 3 currently provides.
Author: Jai Schmidt
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