Part of Ohio’s New Marijuana Law May Be Unconstitutional

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Part of Ohio’s new medical marijuana law that sets aside a piece of the state’s budding pot business for minorities appears to be unconstitutional.

That’s according to legal scholars queried by The Associated Press about provisions inserted into the fast-tracked bipartisan bill that made Ohio the 25th state to legalize medicinal cannabis.

The amendments require at least 15 percent of Ohio’s cultivator, processor, retail dispensary and laboratory licenses to go to black-, Hispanic-, Asian- or Native American-owned businesses – so long as an adequate number apply.

Constitutional experts say such generalized racial preference rules fail to hold up in court, absent documented proof of past or likely discrimination – which is unavailable for a brand new market.

Backers say minorities have seen disproportionate negative impacts under existing marijuana laws.