Thank You for Inhaling: The Lessons of Ohio's Failure in Trying to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Not the new buckeye

Not the new buckeye

Ohio's attempt to legalize recreational marijuana went down to  defeat on election day. It was beaten quite soundly. I do not think that Ohio's Issue 3 was a good law, it was a terrible law. Bad law or not, it was much better than the archaic laws we have right now. Our very own Kirk Aug goes as far to say the marijuana laws are flat out racist. I tend to agree with this sentiment. Because Issue 3 did not pass, using and possessing Marijuana is still highly illegal in Ohio. Doctors can not prescribe it. Users are considered criminals. People who sell it will go to jail. Marijuana is still illegal because of greedy investors, bad politicians, and out of date political thought. Marijuana is still illegal in Ohio because my home state refuses to face the present.

What is the saying that applies here? Perfect is the enemy of the good. Many of my pot supporting friends, let's call them pot smokers, would tell me that they were hesitant to support issue 3. Why would illegal pot smokers not back a legalization measure. One simple word - monopoly.  They were uncomfortable with the fact that issue 3 gave a monopoly to a few well connected donors. I also had the same reservations, yet I still supported the initiative because it made marijuana legal. I am not a pot smoker, but I believe in legal weed. I constantly found myself arguing about the true definition of a monopoly, and what a good law compared to a perfect law even means. I was having these arguments with supporters of legalization. I had trouble convincing them of voting for Issue 3. Lose your most loyal supporters and things will not turn out well on election day.

The word monopoly is where Responsible Ohio lost the legalization battle. The ballot initiative itself had the word monopoly in it. There is another aphorism in politics that says if you are defending, you are losing. Issue 3 was on the defense from day one. I kept seeing commercials on tv with plenty of attractive white people espousing the benefits of legal weed. At the end of each commercial the fine white folk, usually Nick Lachey, would tell me to vote yes on 3 and no on 2. The commercials would always reference the opponents, and opposition arguments, of legal marijuana. In there own commercials Responsible Ohio was making the oppositions case. They were defending, therefore they were losing.

The biggest failure of Ohio's attempt at marijuana legalization was not the defeat of Issue 3, it was the victory of Issue 2. The Ohio legislature put Issue 2 on the ballot as a way to protect the good citizens of Ohio from groups creating a monopoly on new state businesses. The wording of Issue 2 is intentionally vague, and many experts have said the law could stop citizens from trying to move Ohio into the future. The new law passed by issue 2 would add another political layer of bureaucracy to the referendum process. If there is a citizen movement to change the government in Ohio, you better hope the non-partisan committee who is reviewing your request is politically on your side. Marijuana legalization did not just lose this year, due to the passage of issue 2, legalization may have been lost in Ohio for a generation.

 Another failure of the pro-legalization movement is how Responsible Ohio used the idea of progress to hide their greed. The Issue 3 ballot initiative was not launched until the general public was frozen out of any business opportunity associated with future marijuana business in the state. The Ohio legislature used the anti-monopoly idea as a way to hide their reach for more power. All of Ohio lost when Issue 3 was defeated and issue 2 was victorious. The Buckeye state lost needed tax revenue, lost resources being tied up by the moronic War on Drugs, and lost the chance to be at the front of the line of an inevitable part of future society. Ohio also lost the ability for citizens to try and create progress in their state. 

If you want legal weed be truthful with the voters, know that greed will drive your most loyal supporters away, and believe in your message. I for one was looking forward to visiting my local legal marijuana dealership, owned partly by Oscar Robertson. I was going to give this whole smoking marijuana thing another go. But alas there will be no legal way for me to get my weed.

Where the hell do I go now?

RD Kulik

RD is the Head editor for SeedSing. Without marijuana he will just continue to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes. Those are way safer. Tell him your solution to America's problems by writing for SeedSing.