Today, November 3rd, 2015 could be a monumentous day in American history. It’s Election Day here in the Buckeye State and the top issue on the ballot is Issue 3: which could legalize the sale and use of cannabis both for recreational and medicinal purposes. The cannabis advocacy group ResponsibleOhio, backed by some major Ohioans such as former NBA player Oscar Robinson and former 98 Degrees singer Nick Lachey are some of the key people in play here. Let’s break down what could happen if Ohio becomes the first Midwestern state to legalize the danky-dank!
Issue 3 is an amendment to the Ohio constitution that would legalize the sale, use, distribution, and transportation of cannabis for people over 21. For a $50 fee, one can purchase a license for yourself to grow and distribute your own cannabis, but only up to about 8 ounces. Without the license, you can have about one ounce (which unless you’re Snoop Dogg, is PLENTY for a household).
There will be around 1,100 retail marijuana shops opening up if Issue 3 passes. These shops would be dispensaries; they would sell marijuana and marijuana-related products only. So, you could not get this place confused with a head shop or anything where 18-year-olds could enter for cigarettes; they would be clearly for adults only.
The group of investors would own land in a handful of counties around the state of Ohio including Lucas (Toledo), Lorain (Elyria-Cleveland), Licking (Columbus-Newark), Hamilton (Cincinnati), Butler (Cincinnati-Hamilton), Franklin (Columbus Metro), Stark (Canton), Delaware (Columbus-Delaware), Summit (Akron), and Clermont (Cincinnati-Batavia). These pieces of land would be controlled by the newly formed Marijuana Control Commission, similar to a state liquor division and the retail stores would only sell the products of their yields.
A 15% tax would be taken and added to the price of the products sold. There is no information yet on the locations of the retail stores but each city would have to vote on their proposed locations and there are strigent rules for where these locations could be. For example, a retail store could not be located less than 1,000 feet from a school, church, or anywhere children could be.
There is a debate across the nation on Ohio’s amendment change and what that means to voters. Issue 3 would, in fact, alter our state constitution that would make it legal for a group of investors to monetize an industry. Similarly, Ohio did that with the building of Hollywood Casino in Lucas County. The casino was a big deal and brought many jobs in the gambling industry to that area, as well as make gambling legal. Beforehand, folks went to nearby Winsor, Ontario to hit the slots. So, a corporation monopolizing an industry is no new practice, but the industry in question, cannabis, is a hot topic.
Personally, I am a cannabis enthusiast. I like it and I voted for its recreational legalization as a resident of Ohio. After discussing it with my family, I found that they too believed that the prohibition hurt more than it ever helped and with the crippling heroin/opiate crisis in Ohio and surrounding areas, it would be fiscally and morally advantageous to stop penalizing petty marijuana offenders. People are beginning to realize the benefits of cannabis, outside of recreational use. Other than vaping and smoking, there are pain relieving qualities topically with cannabis creams and oils that are proven to reduce inflammation from horrible conditions such as arthritis.
Polling opened in Ohio at 6:30AM and will be closing at 7:30PM with results announced shortly thereafter. Check here at Professional VIP for the results of what would be a historical moment for cannabis users and advocates!
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