Colorado’s view on Ohio’s pot proposal

Green Rush Bus Tour will start in Eaton and will also visit Greenville and Sidney on Tuesday. (Photo provided by ResponsibleOhio)

What Colorado thinks

DENVER, CO (WDTN) - In just two weeks, Ohioans will vote on whether to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana in the state. It's a controversial measure that has a lot of people talking, even in Colorado. That's where 2 NEWS Investigates went and asked pot supporters and opponents what they think of Ohio's marijuana proposal.

The people in Colorado we spoke with think the proposal is unique
It's also quite different than that one in practice there and it's that difference that has even marijuana supporters in Colorado concerned.

"I'm fascinated to see what happens," said Colorado grow facility CEO, Meg Sanders.

Eyes are on Ohio as voters prepare to make a big decision about the legalization of marijuana.
Pot has been legal in Colorado for more than a year and out of the seven experts 2 NEWS Investigates talked to, all of them have concerns about the limitations on who can grow and sell the plants IN Ohio if the amendment passes.

"It's interesting right? On one hand trying to re-assure people that the industry won't be that big or that impactful, on the other hand is it a fair, good, and healthy playing field?" said Denver Chamber of Commerce President, Kelly Brough

Adam Orens works for the Marijuana Policy Group in Denver. It's a consulting company that conducts market research surrounding marijuana in a state. He's studied up on Ohio's proposal and will be watching the vote carefully.

"There's no precedent for identifying who gets to be part of this in law..every other state has a competition," said Orens.
He thinks legalizing pot has contributed to Colorado's economy but is not so sure if it would in Ohio, mainly because of how the measure is being set up here.

"I don't know if this allows the proper vetting by the voters," said Orens.

The proposal in Ohio would change the state's constitution to allow the limited sale and use of the drug by using 10 specific grow sites with 10 specific investors. That grow site limitation does not exist in Colorado. With the right licenses and funding, grow sites like MiNDFUL can start a business.

"With limited licensing, I just think it gets dangerous when you limit it too much," said Sanders.

She said the new concept Ohio is proposing by pre-selecting growers could be a good thing or a bad one. She says while there's no precedent to know how well it will work, she says her company likes the competition.

"I think free markets are great. I think that is a bit of the foundation of America so letting the consumer dollar determine who is a success and who isn't is a great way to do it," said Sanders.

Marijuana

The creators behind Ohio's amendment say the limitation will put more controls over the industry, which some Colorado pot opponents are on board with.

"Certainly preventing the commercialization is absolutely a step in the right direction."

But Gina Carbone, who focuses on limiting the access and exposure of marijuana to kids in Colorado as the co-founder of SMART Colorado, says Ohio should re-think putting the marijuana change in the constitution.

She said Colorado has learned from experience that once you put something that new and specific in such an important document, it's hard to change it if something doesn't work out. We heard the same caution a few times.

"I think the voters of Ohio need to be very careful when they decide to put something new in their state constitution," said Orens.

The Issues you will vote on

The state of Ohio also has a problem with limiting the number of grow sites.That's why you will see two different issues on the ballot next month.

ISSUE 2: Prohibiting a monopoly, state legislator ballot issue to address economic monopolies, particularly as it relates to citizen petitions

ISSUE 3: Legalizing marijuana, citizen ballot issue to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use for Ohioans 21-years-old and older.

Issue 2 and Issue 3, sponsored by ResponsibleOhio (RO) directly relate to one another and your vote on each issue will determine whether marijuana will be legalized.

The state sponsored measure takes effect immediately while the question of legalizing marijuana doesn’t take effect for 30 days after the election. This means how you vote on each issue could change the outcome.

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