Friday, November 06, 2015

No Pot For You!

Ohio voters turned down legalized marijuana. Hopefully they turned down crony legalization, too.

There will be another vote, I'm sure, after this:

Ohio voters rejected a ballot proposal Tuesday that would have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana in a single stroke — a vote-getting strategy that was being watched as a potential test case for the nation.

I'm generally against marijuana legalization. But I guess I have enough libertarian streaks to not be very invested in the issue.

But what I am heartened by is this part of the opposition to the ballot proposal:

Issue 3 would have allowed adults 21 and older to use, purchase or grow certain amounts of marijuana and allowed others to use it as medicine. The growing facilities were to be controlled by private investors, leading opponents to label it a "marijuana monopoly."

That featured heavily in opposition campaigns and a separate ballot question to prevent monopolies from being inserted into Ohio's constitution for the economic benefits of a few.

Yes. That aspect is ridiculous. If Ohio residents want to legalize marijuana, it would be better to do it through the legislative process. The ballot proposal path is how groups with money can get a proposal on the ballot to bypass the legislative process--as Issue 3 was--in order to benefit the people who paid for putting the ballot proposal up for a vote. Success would lead to a big payoff for the select few granted the authority to grow and sell marijuana.

That's how we got gambling in Detroit a couple decades ago. Groups kept holding ballot proposals to allow gaming in Detroit by the entities paying for the ballot proposal. Eventually, the ballot proposal passed as desperation to do something about Detroit's downward spiral grew. I'm not going to judge whether casinos helped Detroit, but the 3 casinos allowed sure have benefited those who own them.

It would have been better to just legalize casinos (or marijuana) and let the market work. But then you run into the resistance of the Indian casinos scattered around the state in growing numbers.