Marijuana Ballot Issue May Clash with Anti-Monopolies Proposal

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Ohio’s elections chief says a legislative proposal to bar monopolies from the state’s constitution could block a marijuana legalization amendment should both issues appear on fall ballots.

State lawmakers want to make it harder to amend the constitution with ballot issues that provide economic benefits to few individuals or create monopolies.

The effort comes as one group seeks to legalize marijuana and create designated grow sites around the state.

The proposed amendment, from ResponsibleOhio, would establish 10 grow sites, some of which investors have already purchased. Backers of the plan say they have more than enough signatures to get it on 2015 ballots.

Secretary of State Jon Husted said Friday that the legislative proposal “could serve as an effective roadblock” to the marijuana issue should voters approve both proposals, noting, “In such cases, the Ohio constitution clearly establishes a resolution to this conflict by declaring that the amendment that receives the greater number of votes prevails.”

Ian James, executive director of ResponsibleOhio, sees the lawmakers’ proposal as a subversive attempt against the legalization movement, adding, “Right now, we aren’t focused on hypotheticals. We continue to collect signatures from the hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who want to see marijuana legalization on the ballot, Ohioans who overwhelmingly want a chance to decide in November.”