Ohio Says No to Legalizing Marijuana and Monopoly in Cultivation

Ohio on Tuesday voted against a controversial amendment to the state’s constitution that would have legalized recreational and medical marijuana in the state.The amendment also included a proposal allowing a small group of people to hold monopoly rights over commercial marijuana cultivation and sale in the state.

The amendment proposed to allow any individual with a license to grow, possess, and share up to eight ounces of marijuana and four marijuana plants in the state, and any person above the age of 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana without a license. The most controversial part of the amendment was a proposal to grant exclusive rights to 10 facilities in the state to commercially grow, extract, and process marijuana.

These 10 facilities were backed by a number of wealthy  and notable Ohioans, who according to the Washington Post, had bankrolled the legalization campaign. The proposal was opposed by several marijuana legalization supporters as it sought to set award all of the state’s initial licenses to a small group of people, creating a cultivation monopoly in Ohio.

“The people of Ohio have understandably rejected a deeply flawed, monopolistic approach to marijuana reform that failed to garner broad support from advocates or industry leaders. This debate has shown that there is a strong base of support for legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana. Now the foundation has been laid for a potential 2016 effort that would put forward a more common-sense initiative and have a major impact on the presidential conversation in the process,” the National Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith said in a statement.

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