Pot Backers See Dollar Signs
function share_this(num) {
 tit=encodeURIComponent('Pot Backers See Dollar Signs');
 site = new Array(5);
 return false;

Pot Backers See Dollar Signs
Posted by CN Staff on December 20, 2014 at 05:52:51 PT
By Alan Johnson, The Columbus Dispatch
Source: Columbus Dispatch
Ohio -- The belief that marijuana is a growth industry appears to be the driving force behind a planned 2015 constitutional amendment that would ask Ohioans to authorize 10 individuals or businesses to grow and sell marijuana wholesale for personal and medicinal use by residents 21 or older.Despite being in the works for up to a year, Thursday’s revelation of a ballot issue caught many people off guard, including those who support and oppose legalization. Most observers were expecting a push to come from more traditional sources such as the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, the California-based Drug Policy Alliance, the Ohio Rights Group or one of the other advocate organizations.
Instead, the proposal appears to be driven by big-money investors reportedly coming from the ranks of economic development, former professional athletes and other interests. No information was available about how the 10 growers would be selected or where they would be allowed to operate.“This is about big business and people who are lining their pockets,” said Marcie Seidel, executive director of the Drug Free Action Alliance. “Our kids are going to be the victims of this. Our workplaces are going to be compromised.”The national marijuana market is estimated at $2.6 billion this year (up from $1.5 billion in 2013) as 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized sales in some form. A New York Times headline this year proclaimed legalized marijuana the “next gold rush.”ResponsibleOhio, the group backing the amendment, said it wants to end the marijuana prohibition. Marijuana sales would be taxed, with revenue distributed to the government, and a program would be established to provide medical marijuana at sliding-scale costs.Kevin Sabet, co-founder of anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana and a former national drug-policy advisory, agreed that a business model is where the marijuana movement is heading.“The legalization movement in the last few years has been about one thing and one thing only, and that is money. There are a small number of individuals who think there is a lot of money to be made and this is the next massive industry.”Backers of marijuana proposals “aren’t the long-haired hippies who forget to wake up in the morning for their first meeting. These are the Harvard MBAs. I’m much more scared of them,” Sabet said.John Pardee, president of the Ohio Rights Group that is working on its own ballot issue, opposes the ReponsibleOhio plan, which he said would be “funded by a handful of millionaires.”“In any monopolistic system, the price goes up and the quality goes down,” Pardee said. “We also want to qualify for the ballot in 2015 to give Ohio voters a choice. We’re ready to have that debate.”Pardee’s group has collected about 150,000 of the more than 300,000 signatures needed to put an issue on the ballot next year. The Ohio Rights Group issue would allow Ohioans to buy, possess and use medical marijuana for specific illnesses and conditions. It also would clear the way for Ohio farmers to grow and sell hemp for industrial uses.Gov. John Kasich, while not commenting on this specific proposal, made his feelings clear on the subject of legalization earlier this year on the campaign trail.“We’re not passing any marijuana law,” Kasich said. “Listen, unless I have physicians coming en masse to tell me there’s no other way to deal with chronic pain, I see no reason to do it. And the physicians I know, the ones that talk to me, have not seen a need for this.”Source: Columbus Dispatch (OH)Author: Alan Johnson, The Columbus Dispatch Published: December 20, 2014Copyright: 2014 The Columbus DispatchContact: letters dispatch.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 

Post Comment