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Ohio

Thu
18
Jun

How an Ohio Ballot Measure Could Create a Marijuana Monopoly

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Thousands of hastily scribbled signatures fill boxes in the basement of Ian James’ 7,800-square-foot restored Victorian home in the historic Franklin Park neighborhood. James needs these names to win a place on Ohio’s November ballot for a measure to legalize medical and recreational marijuana.

But the political consultant isn’t just gathering the signatures. He came up with the idea for the measure. And he recruited a lawyer to draft a constitutional amendment that would put Ohio’s future marijuana market in the hands of only 10 growers — an arrangement that critics are calling a monopoly.

Meanwhile, he plans to pay his own firm nearly $6 million to run the campaign.

Thu
18
Jun

Ohio: What you need to know about marijuana initiative

Do you support marijuana legalization in Ohio? Scroll to the bottom and vote in our poll.

On a cold day in January 2014, political strategist Ian James rode the elevator with two lawyers to the 11th floor of the Scripps Center to arrive at the office of a Cincinnati wheeler-dealer. The four men sat down, made some small talk. Then James took a deep breath and made his pitch for an Ohio revolution.

"I had not met Jimmy Gould before," James recalled, "so I just asked if he were interested in the legalization of marijuana for personal use or for medical use. I didn't know how this was going to go over. But no sooner had the words come out of my mouth, Jimmy said, 'I'm in.' "

Thu
18
Jun

Ohio businesses capitalize on legal marijuana industry

JOHNSTOWN, Ohio -- Andy Joseph didn't seek the marijuana industry -- it found him.

The Navy veteran and father of five began building botanical oil extraction systems from his home northeast of Columbus while working as an engineering director for a manufacturing company. The systems were made to extract essential oils and natural flavorings from plants such as lavender, spearmint and peppers.

But entrepreneurs in California found another use for Joseph's machines -- extracting chemicals from marijuana that could be used in hundreds of products. Joseph's business grew as more states legalized marijuana, leading him to quit his job in 2012 to run Apeks Supercritical out of a 2,000-square-foot pole barn in his backyard.

Wed
17
Jun

Ohio Politics Now: Can lawmakers block a marijuana monopoly?

Here’s a look at what is happening in Ohio government and politics:

Ohio lawmakers want to block a proposed marijuana monopoly and other monopolies from being written into the Constitution.

“The plan rolled out Tuesday was backed by top legislative leaders, but critics said that it may go too far in trying to derail the fast-moving marijuana plan engineered by ResponsibleOhio,” Dispatch reporter Alan Johnson writes.

Wed
17
Jun

Outlaw marijuana 'monopolies,' lawmakers say

COLUMBUS – Ohio lawmakers want to eliminate "monopolies" in the Ohio constitution, such as one proposed by marijuana legalization group ResponsibleOhio.

A proposed constitutional amendment unveiled Tuesday would prohibit businesses from creating monopolies in the constitution. That would likely include putting specific parcels of land into the constitution, such as the location of marijuana farms. The change would not affect casino or racino locations already added into the constitution.

"The day of trying to buy our state constitution, we need to start putting some brakes to it pretty quick," said Ohio Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville.

Wed
17
Jun

Marijuana legislation backers pledge support of unions

LORAIN — The company that will grow marijuana at a proposed Lorain facility will allow its workers to organize into a union if voters approve a marijuana legalization constitutional amendment this fall, the company’s leadership announced Tuesday.

“This company will be a driver of economic growth in this community and will be an example of why respecting workers’ rights is simply good business,” Bobby George, principal owner of RG1 LLC, said during a news conference put on by ResponsibleOhio, the group pushing legalization of the medical and personal use of marijuana.

Fri
12
Jun

Ohio Prosecutor: Marijuana legalization would create 35000 jobs

A proposal to legalize marijuana that is likely headed toward Ohio’s fall ballot would create nearly 35,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state and generate an annual economic output of $7 billion, says a new report today coordinated by Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters.

“Legalization is coming to Ohio. We need to accept the reality is going to happen,” Deters said at a press conference at the Ohio State University Moritz School of Law where the report, “Marijuana & Ohio, Past Present and Potential” was unveiled.

“Why in the world, knowing this is coming, would we let the bad guys make all the money?” Deters asked.

Wed
10
Jun

Two groups postpone marijuana legalization amendments until 2016

Legalizing marijuana Several proposals are in the works to legalize marijuana in Ohio. Check here for an update on the status of those efforts.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Two groups vying to legalize marijuana will not make the ballot in November, group leaders said, clearing the field for one marijuana ballot issue this year.

Better for Ohio and Ohio Rights Group will not have the more than 305,591 signatures of Ohio voters required by July 1 to qualify for the November ballot, group leaders said. Both groups plan to continue collecting signatures for 2016.

Wed
10
Jun

Ohio Lawmakers Could Kill The ResponsibleOhio Marijuana Legalization Initiative

The ResponsibleOhio marijuana legalization initiative has caused quite a bit of controversy in marijuana politics. At first, the ResponsibleOhio initiative provided for just 10 marijuana cultivation sites. After some outcry by many people in the marijuana reform movement, ResponsibleOhio added a provision for home cultivation. But the rules surrounding home cultivation are unclear. I heard someone from the ResponsibleOhio campaign state that the home cultivation provision was copied from Oregon. But that’s clearly not the case because Oregon will not require a license to cultivate up to four plants. How hard will it be to get a home cultivation license? How much will it cost? What will the rules be?

Mon
08
Jun

Ohio Legislators working to prevent rise of marijuana monopolies from pro-pot plans

COLUMBUS -- Ohio lawmakers are beginning to hear some of the objections raised against plans to legalize marijuana, and it might not be for the reason you think.

According to a report by the Columbus Dispatch, bipartisan support is building to suppress any legislation that could use constitutional amendments to create monopolies.

As currently written, the leading pro-pot proposal -- submitted by ResponsibleOhio -- would change the Ohio Constitution to allow 10 investment groups the exclusive right to grow and sell marijuana wholesale.

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