Court Says Misleading Description of Ohio's Marijuana Initiative Must Be Corrected

The off-putting but accurate reference to the "exclusive rights" reserved for a cannabis cultivation cartel will remain.


Responsible Ohio

This week the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the official ballot description for that state's marijuana legalization initiative—language that was written by opponents of the measure—is inaccurate or misleading in four important ways:

1. The marijuana initiative, Issue 3, generally bans marijuana businesses within 1,000 feet of churches, primary and secondary schools, playgrounds, public libraries, and day care centers. The description approved by the Ohio Ballot Board—which is chaired by Secretary of State John Husted, who opposes legalization—instead says the initiative allows marijuana businesses in those zones, presumably referring to the exceptions for churches etc. established after January 1 of this year (in the case of growers) or after a license application is filed (in the case of merchants and edible manufacturers).

2. Husted's language says Issue 3 would allow anyone 21 or older to grow or transport "over one-half pound of marijuana," when in fact a state-issued license is required for home cultivation and transportation of that amount is prohibited even for license holders. "Under the amendment," the court notes, "growing up to eight ounces of marijuana plus four flowering marijuana plants is permitted only by persons holding valid state licenses, and even those persons are not permitted to transport the marijuana." Public possession is limited to one ounce.

3. The ballot description does not mention that marijuana merchants must obtain state licenses, which are subject to veto by local residents. 

4. Issue 3 authorizes marijuana cultivation at 10 sites owned by the initiative's financial backers. Husted's language mentions that an 11th grower can be approved after four years, but "it does not explain that an additional growth facility can open only if existing facilities cannot meet consumer demand."

The court, which was responding to a complaint by Responsible Ohio, the group backing Issue 3, ordered the ballot board to rewrite its description of the initiative, which voters will consider on November 3, to correct those four problems. "Ballot language must be neutral and fair," Responsible Ohio Executive Director Ian James said on Wednesday, "and today's ruling is a slap to the secretary of state for waging a political campaign from his elected office, using taxpayer dollars."

Notably, the court did not agree with Responsible Ohio's objection to the ballot board's description of the "exclusive rights" created by the initiative's tight limits on commercial cultivation. As I said in August, that part of the ballot description may indeed jeopardize the initiative, but it happens to be factual. If Issue 3's backers are worried that voters will react negatively to their cannabis cultivation cartel, maybe they should not be trying to create one.


NEXT: Friday Funnies: Affordable College

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Looks like Weed Day at HyR. Messicans and ass-sex later, perhaps.

    They must be outta Trump material, for now, I guess.

    1. Well, last night shriek said that he needs some “good shit” for next weekend. Perhaps, the commentariat will oblige?

      1. He finally found someone else who’s willing to do a marathon Settlers of Catan session?

        1. Hey now. That’s a fun game…

      1. *chokes on coffee, splutters*

  2. While this Amendment creates a 10-member cartel, it is hardly worse than the casino gambling Amendment that created a 4-member cartel a few years ago. My expectation is that this will spur a boom in home grown weed, essentially leaving the cartel with business largely from out-of-staters and city folk. It will flood Ohio’s coffers, however, and that will make Kasich look better (oops, that’s a BAD result)

    And, hey, if this doesn’t pass I might not see legal marijuana in Ohio in my lifetime.

    1. I agree, but I don’t have a lot of hope that it will pass. Powers that be and media really do not want it. They’ll start with the bumper sticker retard slogans and all the retarded voters will start to parrot them. People are fucking idiots. Someday maybe after the generation in power all die off. Seems like they’re living forever though. These fucks could at least retire. Supposedly another group is working on a more liberal bill without the monopoly. Not that it will matter at this point.

    2. The other interesting thing is that this bill enshrines the monopoly into the State Constitution as did the gambling bill. There is another bill to be voted on at the same time as this one that makes it illegal to create monopolies in the State Constitution. Not really sure what happens if they both pass or if the gambling amendment is grandfathered.

      1. According to the politicos, all the old stuff holds. But if 2 passes( the anti-monopoly amendment), the cartel amendment is null. Excepting the court stuff. Ohio law gives immediate legality of amendments presented by the legislature. 30 days to citizen presented. Odd and weird, but supposedly true. And in this particular case good. Might make MJ legal sans monopoly. At least will fuck with the monopolists!

  3. Create a cartel/monopoly to grow and distribute? License to grow you own? How liberty enhancing is that? Libertarians should not die on this crony assed hill. Casino’s, same thing. Booze, damn near. How about we stop this stuff before it starts. The state should NEVER enable a business to become a cartel/monopoly no matter how cool the idea is. Taxis anyone? Streetcars? Cable? Booze? Stadiums? Schools? Schools because the owners are the teachers in case you missed my point, they were supposed to be owned by the parents and citizens, but someone missed the point a bit there. I could go on, but you can fill in anything I might have missed.

  4. Interestingly, the court let stand the title of the measure: “Grants a monopoly for the commercial production and sale of marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes”.

    Monopoly, from the Greek m?nos, meaning ten.

    But seriously, limiting the field to 10 competing growers is an oligopoly, not a monopoly. A monopoly is when there’s only one source, like the maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma, a major opponent of marijuana law reform. Also, people will be able to grow their own, effectively making for an unlimited number of growers.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.