Will Ohio Legalize a Marijuana Monopoly

Will Ohio Legalize a Marijuana Monopoly

marijuana-monopoly

As we continue to watch the emergence of new legal marijuana markets across the United States, it’s instructive to look at another so-called vice: gambling. Where games of chance were once relegated to Nevada and Atlantic City, NJ, it’s now hard to find any state that doesn’t have some form of gambling, be it riverboat casinos, tribal casinos, or just a state lottery.

One place gambling took hold recently is Ohio. In 2009, the state passed a constitutional amendment known as Issue 3 that legalized gaming, with a catch. The organizers of that initiative pushed to make legal “only one casino facility at a specifically designated location within each of the cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo.”

The casino initiative was bankrolled mostly by Penn National Gaming, Inc., a company that runs twenty casinos nationwide including, unsurprisingly, the four constitutionally-mandated casinos in Ohio. For their investment of $32 million, Penn National now has a constitutional monopoly on casino gambling in America’s seventh-largest state. In the first two full years of operation (2013-2014), those four casinos had adjusted gross revenue (gamblers’ losses minus promotional costs) of $1.5 billion.

Now it seems that a group called Responsible Ohions for Cannabis is taking a page from the casino playbook and attempting to write a marijuana monopoly into the state constitution. Lydia Bolander, a spokesperson for the group, told the Columbus Dispatch that they will “pursue a ballot initiative in 2015 to give voters the opportunity to let adults 21 and older use marijuana for medical and personal use.”

But like the casino amendment, wealthy backers would be writing in their properties as the 10 sites that would be approved statewide for marijuana cultivation for sale. Once those 10 growers are locked in, nobody else in the state could cultivate and sell cannabis legally. (Technically, that makes them a cartel, not a monopoly, but the difference would be negligible.)

The editorial board of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer isn’t sanguine about the proposed initiative’s chances. “If the marijuana amendment arrives as advertised, it would be anti-competitive in the extreme,” write the editors, adding, “creating an anti-competitive constitutional monopoly aimed at enriching a tiny number of landowners seems like the exact wrong way to go about any conceivable [marijuana] legalization.”

Meanwhile, the Ohio Rights Group, led by president John Pardee, continues in its fight to bring medical marijuana to the Buckeye State. Pardee’s group is underfunded and disorganized, failing to gather even a third of the signatures necessary to put its Ohio Cannabis Rights Act on the ballot in 2014. “I’m against creating a constitutional monopoly,” Pardee told the Plain-Dealer, but unfortunately it seems the investors in marijuana reform in Ohio want it that way.

Article from: www.hightimes.com

Will Ohio Legalize a Marijuana Monopoly

Congress Effectively Ends The Federal Ban On Medical Marijuana

MEDICAL-MARIJUANA-STONERDAYS

Congress Effectively Ends The Federal Ban On Medical Marijuana

MEDICAL-MARIJUANA-STONERDAYS

It seems the controversial $1.1T spending bill that is preventing the U.S. government from shutting down is chock full of surprises. As you may know, much to the dismay of marijuana activists and lovers of democracy everywhere, the bill smacked down Washington DCs referendum that legalized recreational marijuana in the nation’s capital. What you may have missed (because those shifty politicians are doing everything under the table) is that the bill also quietly, but effectively lifted the federal ban on medical marijuana.

In the depths of the 1,603-page document is a provision that prohibits federal agents from raiding retail medical cannabis operations in states that have legalized medical cannabis. The passage represents “the first time in decades that the federal government has curtailed its oppressive prohibition of marijuana,” the measure’s co-author, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, told the LA Times.

Though President Obama has generally favored this approach policy-wise, the passage of the bill also ensures that the next president can’t backtrack and begin busting medical cannabis operations.

The full text of the measure reads as such:

“Sec. 538. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana. Sec. 539. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (“Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.”

Important to note is that this legislation is fully in light of the fact that marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug with “no medical uses” by federal standards. Seeing as how logically this does not work, this folks, must represent the beginning of the end for marijuana prohibition — especially from the point of view of Congress.

Now that there will be little threat of backlash from the federal government, it’s time to lobby your state for the legalization of medical marijuana if you live in one of the 18 states where it is outrageously outlawed. No excuses. Onwards and upwards to completely legal, recreational and medical marijuana for all!

Article from: www.hightimes.com

Congress Effectively Ends The Federal Ban On Medical Marijuana