I am not a fan of marijuana prohibition in any way. There is not one provision of marijuana prohibition that I support. That's why I get up everyday and try as hard as I can to support reform efforts across America and beyond. With that being said, I'm a realist. I have a Bachelor's degree in Public Policy, and if there's one thing that I learned while studying American politics is that nothing is ever perfect. That's especially true with marijuana politics. In a perfect world, federal prohibition would end, and marijuana would be regulated like tomatoes. Each cannabis consumer would be a responsible one, and everything would be merry.
Unfortunately, that's not the reality in America. Each state has a certain acceptance level for marijuana, with some states being like Oregon which will be allowing possession of up to 8 ounces and home cultivation in a couple of weeks, or Colorado where anyone over the age of 21 can come in and purchase recreational marijuana. But then there are states like Idaho, which has politicians that have previously passed a bill making it illegal to even reform marijuana laws (that's right, Idaho hates marijuana so much it made it even more illegal somehow).
Marijuana legalization efforts are going to vary from state to state. Some states will allow high possession limits and cultivation, while some states will be like Washington and allow possession of an ounce, but no home cultivation. As Russ Belville always says, 'the best marijuana legalization initiative is the one that wins.' Campaigns have to not concede anything that they don't need to, which is what I think happened in Washington with the lack of home grow provision. But on the other hand they have to concede enough to get swing voters to approve the initiative so that it doesn't lose on election day, similar to what happened in Oregon in 2012 with Measure 80.
The most controversial marijuana reform effort right now is the Ohio marijuana legalization initiative, which is being run by ResponsibleOhio. There are a lot of misconceptions out there right now about the initiative. I will be the first to say that the initiative is not perfect, and there are definitely valid reasons for criticism, but I feel that a lot of people haven't done their homework about the initiative. No matter what the political issue is, I'm fine if people want to vote one way or another, that's their Constitutional right. However, when people get all fired up and do nothing but perpetuate false or incomplete information, it really waters down what could be constructive conversations.
I reached out to the Ohio campaign. I asked if they could compile some of the most frequently asked questions about the campaign and initiative, and responses to those concerns, and they were kind enough to respond. I'm sure there will be a lot of comments, as there usually is when it comes to this topic, and I just ask that people try to remain respectful and think your comments through. I'd love to see a constructive conversation about this, on both sides of the issue. That way people can benefit from each other's knowledge, and make the informed decision.
From The ResponsibleOhio Campaign
There are a lot of misunderstandings about ResponsibleOhio's work to legalize marijuana in Ohio. Perhaps the most misunderstood is our home grow provision. We'd like to take this opportunity to explain our goals and what's actually in the amendment and how it would effect you.
Is There Home Grow?
ResponsibleOhio's proposal includes a home grow provision comparable to most other states. Our original plan did not, but we listened to your feedback and revised the entire amendment to include this important right.
One common complaint is that the amendment only allows flowering plants to be grown. This obviously doesn't make sense, which has lead some to say that it is an intentional loophole.
Here's what the amendment actually says:
This paragraph establishes that it is legal for those 21 and over to grow marijuana as long as the other rules laid out in the amendment and by the commission are followed. One of those rules is to establish the maximum amount that can be grown. The amendment places no caps on the amount of starts or clones that can be grown, only on the number that can be flowering at once (4) and the number of ounces that can be on-hand (8).
What's with the Commission?
ResponsibleOhio's plan puts a state commission in place to oversee the marijuana industry and empowers the commission to make rules regarding the new industry. This will be an independent commission appointed by the governor and not in anyway controlled by ResponsibleOhio. The main job of the Commission is to oversee enforce rules regarding licensing and permits, and to also establish the finer points of the law. The Commission will be empowered to make sure Ohio's rules address changing social norms. It is modeled in design after the Ohio Liquor Control Commission. There will be one position each for; patient advocates, small business owners, medical experts, legal experts, members of the public and law enforcement. This diversity is to make sure a variety of voices are heard.
The Amendment Reads:
Won't the Commission/Governor/Legislature make home grow impossible?
The amendment guarantees that no rules can be enacted that make home grow "unreasonably impracticable." This means that, home growers will have the same level of protection from unfair rules that the commercial grows will have after passage.
Won't the feds bust down my door?
Until the Federal law changes, no state can promise or even suggest immunity from federal law enforcement. However, Federal attitudes regarding marijuana enforcement is changing. If you do not break the rules promulgated by the Commission, the Ohio Code, or move marijuana across state borders, you probably will never be targeted by a Federal Investigation.
I like the rules better in...
ResponsibleOhio has carefully considered every single law ever passed regarding marijuana legalization. We feel we have crafted an Amendment that will address the current and future practical issues of legalization specifically for Ohio and this developing industry.