The controversial marijuana legalization measure that will be on the Ohio statewide ballot next month (Issue 3) continues to generate news stories and opinions on both sides.
We all know the positive things that cannabis legalization brings: retail sales, home growing, legal possession; all these things that are encompassed within Issue 3, along with the legalization of medical marijuana. Tax revenue, thousands of jobs, less police resources wasted. Check, check, and check.
Issue 3 generates controversy within the cannabis community due to its commercial growing restrictions, which only allow for ten farms in the state. But is that enough of a problem to deny consumers in Ohio recreational and medical marijuana for at least one more year, and more likely five more years?
As if Issue 3 didn’t have enough problems, the Ohio Bankers League recently came out against the measure, citing the conflicts it would create with federal law. They say Issue 3 “would put the Ohio banking industry in an untenable position and would render the marijuana industry an all-cash business, creating public safety issues and money laundering concerns,” as if that is the fault of Issue 3 and not outdated and draconian federal laws.
Another recent story concerning Issue 3 deals with possible tax revenue. A report from the state budget office estimates that marijuana legalization could bring some $300 million in new tax money to the state. For their part, Issue 3’s backers say revenue will exceed $500 million a year. The real number is hard to know since it’s hard to gauge demand in an illegal market.
What many in the cannabis community hate about Issue 3 is it will make rich people richer, which can be said about all the legalization measures passed thus far, and will be true of all legalization measures passed in the future. Why it is such a catastrophe if it happens in Ohio as well? Don’t all of the positives of legalization more than make up for it?