In August, Koffel Brininger Nesbitt asked if
Ohioans want to legalize marijuana. Apparently, the answer is no, but not for the reasons you might think.
rejected the proposed constitutional amendment that would make
marijuana legal in the state of Ohio. But why?
Ohio took a different approach than did Colorado and Washington, the first
two states to legalize marijuana. Colorado voters moved to legalize the
recreational use of marijuana, and Washington centralized the distribution
of pot through state ABC agencies.
The measure that voters rejected in Ohio may not have been rejected exclusively
on the grounds of opposition to the legalization of marijuana. Some believe
the measure may have been rejected, at least in part, because it was backed
by a company who wanted to retain exclusive rights to cultivate marijuana
in the state of Ohio. That organization, ResponsibleOhio, some feared
might monopolize the cannabis industry.
What ResponsibleOhio failed to see, says one Ohio State University law
professor, is that “hippies” who would unwaveringly support
marijuana legalization would also be staunchly opposed to corporatization.
What this vote really came down to was whether legalizing marijuana was
more of a priority than preventing a monopoly.
The Consequences of Criminalizing Marijuana
The ACLU reports that more than half of all drug arrests were over marijuana
(data from 2010). In 2013, data suggests that 88% of marijuana-specific
drug arrests were low-level possession offenses. That’s a large
number considering marijuana has already been legalized in some states,
and came very close in Ohio. If you or someone you love was arrested for
marijuana possession, sale, or a related offense, contact a Columbus drug
crime attorney at Koffel Brininger Nesbitt to discuss your defense options.