Ohio’s Choice: Pot Prohibition or Cannabis Crony Capitalism?

buckeye cc

Is it a coincidence that the buckeye leaf and the pot leaf look so similar?

(From Reason)

Although Kampia has a point, my main problem with Issue 3 is the cannabis cultivation cartel it would create: Commercial production would be limited to 10 pre-selected sites owned by the initiative’s financial backers, who are investing in the gains to be made from the economic privileges they are trying to award themselves. This approach has the advantage of quickly raising a lot of money—money that can be used to pay marijuana mascots and produce ads featuring sympathetic beneficiaries of legalization (such as the mother who moved from Ohio to Colorado so she could treat her daughter’s epilepsy with cannabis oil). The downside is that the crony capitalism embodied in Issue 3 disgusts a lot of people who otherwise support legalization.

That reaction is not limited to libertarians like me. “Damn,” DPA’s Nadelmann said while discussing the initiative in San Francisco last February. “This thing sticks in my craw. Ten business interests are going to dominate this thing?” Despite objections from the Yes on 3 campaign, a.k.a. Responsible Ohio, the ballot description highlights that aspect of the initiative, which unites progressives and libertarians in revulsion almost as much as prohibition itself. “I’m rooting for Issue 3 to win,” Nadelmann says in a CNN essay posted last Thursday, “mostly because a victory on Election Day 2015 would significantly accelerate the momentum toward ending marijuana prohibition nationwide.” But he also writes that “a constitutionally mandated oligopoly for an agricultural product…seems un-American” and “sticks in the craws of both liberals and conservatives.”

State legislators who oppose Issue 3 have taken advantage of this vulnerability by proposing another constitutional amendment. Issue 2, which appears on the ballot right before Issue 3, says “the power of the initiative shall not be used to pass an amendment to this constitution that would grant or create a monopoly or a special interest, privilege, benefit, right, or license of an economic nature to any person, partnership, association, corporation, organization, or other nonpublic entity, or any combination thereof, however organized, that is not available to other similarly situated persons or entities at the time the amendment is scheduled to become effective.” That rule sounds good to me, even though I know it is aimed at defeating marijuana legalization.

Click here for the article.