If you live in Ohio you are probably aware that when you go vote on Tuesday November 3 you will be voting on Issue 3. It's the marijuana initiative.
If you are familiar with the initiative you might also connect with it the words "Monopoly" or even "Cartel".
In fact, that is how it will read on the ballot:
This is terminology put forth by people who don't want this to pass (the Republicans in charge).
It might as well read, "Do you REALLY want a monopoly to completely control marijuana?" Of course you don't. I don't either.
A monopoly is "the exclusive possession or control of the supply by one party."
In truth, this bill should read:
"Issue 3 Grants an oligopoly for the commercial production and sale of marijuana."
An oligopoly is "a state of limited competition, in which a market is shared by a small number of producers or sellers."
So, if you will give me one point, I ask you to give me this: the initiative is misleading, and in fact meant to mislead by opponents by using the word "monopoly."
This is the definition of a cartel: "an association of manufacturers or suppliers with the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition."
This is simply not what this bill is.
The 10 Marijuana Growth, Cultivation and Extraction (MGCE) facilities would be run independently to prevent collusion, as required by the Sherman Antitrust Act. There would be no vertical integration of marijuana business, meaning that those who cultivated the plants would not also sell directly to the public.
A cartel is price fixing. This is absolutely not what we have here.
It is NOT a cartel.
Monopoly or Cartel: no.
So then you have to ask: why should we have an oligopoly?
Shouldn't everyone get the chance to farm and sell marijuana?
We live in a country where oligopolies exist in many, many facets of our lives:
Oligopolies exist everywhere.
Further more, this is how other state's marijuana initiatives have been setup.
Their leaders just didn't try to emotionally manipulate the ballot by using the word "monopoly."
In Massachusetts, for example, those seeking a license to commercially cultivate marijuana were required to put $500,000 in escrow before their application would even be reviewed. And in Florida, where a medical marijuana bill was approved permitting only low-THC, high CBD marijuana, applicants for one of only five licenses for a cultivation center were required to post a $5 million performance bond and pay a $100,000 non-refundable application fee, and demonstrate they have been in the nursery business in Florida for a minimum of 30 years. Few average citizens in either state would have the ability to participate in the profitable legal marijuana market, yet we did not hear a lot of protest from citizens in either state.
We are just being manipulated by conservatives who don't want this to pass. And Issue 2 (which required no signatures what-so-ever) will negate Issue 3 if you vote for Issue 2.
I'm telling you, in my journey trying to run for mayor, I saw first hand how the balloting process is set up to manipulate the system in the favor of those who run it. Republicans run Ohio. Republicans don't want marijuana to pass in Ohio.
If you are a conservative, I get it. You don't want people smoking pot.
If you are a Christian, I sort of get it. You are worried about the law of God. Although, everything I read about Jesus is to love and take care of the weakest of our community, above all else. But whatever.
If you are a liberal, I don't get it. You like government controlled entities. You like smoking pot. You think it's insane that the conservative agenda is telling you how to live your life and how to think and act. You have taken the bait put out by conservatives that this is a monopoly. You are siding with the very people who don't like your values and don't want you to get what you want. Don't let the conservatives win again. Now is your chance to make Ohio a leader in progressive thought. Don't think you'll just naturally see another marijuana bill on the next ballot. It's not that easy.
We need to pass this initiative in 2015! It takes an incredible amount of money and organization to get as far as we are today. Other groups have tried for years to get on the ballot and have failed.