Backers of the failed Issue 3 campaign that would have legalized marijuana for personal and medical use in Ohio say they plan to come back to the ballot in 2016. But in an interview with Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles, ResponsibleOhio’s Ian James says the plan his group intends to put on the ballot next year will be based on free market principles.
James “Anyone who is 21 or older will be able to grow, cultivate, manufacture, sell marijuana with a license. If you want to grow at home, you won’t have to have a license or a permit. We are going to follow the model that other states have had. No permitting, no license requirement but you are going to have to keep it out of public view and secured from anybody under 21. We are going to follow that model. We are going to allow for hemp grow because farmers in Ohio should be able to grow hemp, sell hemp and benefit from it. It’s ultimately going to come down to the marijuana control commission. If you are 21 and older, you haven’t had a felony in the last five years and you want to be in this business, you’ll be able to do that under this amendment. There are a lot of things that we are still working through because we are in a consensus building timeframe. We are talking to advocates, we are talking to people who supported Issue 3, we are talking to people who didn’t support Issue 3, we are talking to health care, mental health advocates, we are talking to chambers of commerce, we are talking to farming communities. We are talking in a very broad to thousands and thousands of Ohio to get their ideas on what we need to do going forward because it’s not a matter of if marijuana is going to be legalized. It’s a matter of when and how we legalize it.”
Ingles “Are your funders that funded you this time around ready to come back and pour millions of dollars more into funding next time around?”
James “All of the funders from the Issue 3 campaign have said unequivocally that they are committed to going forward in Ohio because they realize it’s not a matter of if marijuana is going to be legalized, it’s a matter of when. They want to be there at the forefront of legalization and they are committed to providing a free open market for Ohioans to benefit from this new market.”
Ingles “I guess what I don’t understand is, what’s in it for them?”
James “Well you are opening a whole new market that is, currently, an illegal market. It’s not regulated. You have an ability….Jo, this is business, this is a business opportunity. It’s also the chance to do the right thing. You know we have had failed marijuana prohibition and it’s going to eventually fall. The better way to have marijuana prohibition fall is to have marijuana prohibition fall is to have smart people working together to craft the best possible way forward for Ohio.”
Scrapping the ten designated growing sites isn’t the only change in the new proposed marijuana legalization plan. Don’t expect to see Buddie, the mascot that looked like a cross between Oscar the Ground and Popeye the Sailor man with a green bushy head, meant to resemble a bud of pot. Critics had said Buddie seemed to be designed to attract children because of his “superhero” costuming. James says Buddie was a mistake.