Ohio voters will decide today whether to approve Issue 3, an amendment to their state constitution, via referendum, which would legalize marijuana in the state. Sounds great right?
Get ready to vomit on your keyboard.
Along with legalization, Issue 3 would create a marijuana monopoly owned by the investment consortium that sponsored and funded the effort. That’s right kids; a company was formed for the sole purpose of changing Ohio law in a way that would net the company millions of dollars through a legislative monopoly. And they even have their own adorable mascot, Buddie.
Here’s how democracy works now. A political consultant with experience on referendums hatched a brilliant money-making venture. He formed a consortium. Members could buy in for $2m. They raised about $40m. The money would fund a political campaign to legalize marijuana in Ohio and create a monopoly on its cultivation and distribution. The investors in the consortium would own the resulting monopoly.
Capitalism meets Democracy in a bar and slips her a roofie. He bans her from getting an abortion, and out comes something magical. It’s the School House Rock Episode rejected by censors.
A ludicrously simple step could have prevented this hostage taking exercise. Federal authorities could recognize the ridiculousness of our long, bloody campaign to crack down on cultural subversion by jazz musicians, hippies, and snow boarders. With one move by Congress, we could move marijuana out of the FDA’s Schedule 1, a position it shares at the highest level of danger with heroin. It could continue to be regulated at some level, perhaps available only through pharmacies, but we could stop treating it like nuclear waste.
Or we could wait for political opportunists to make the most possible money off the situation, before eventually succumbing to the inevitable. Looks like we are leaning toward the latter.