Skip to main content

ResponsibleOhio Marijuana Initiative Qualifies for 2015 Ballot

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #899)
Politics & Advocacy

This article was published in collaboration with AlterNet and first appeared here.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced Wednesday afternoon that the ResponsibleOhio marijuana legalization initiative has qualified for the November ballot.

Husted reported that the initiative campaign had collected 320,267 valid voter signatures; it needed 305,000 to qualify for the ballot.

The initiative is controversial for creating a "monopoly" of 10 allowed commercial marijuana grows, and those spots have already been allocated to people who funded the campaign.

The initiative would also create a system of licensed marijuana processing facilities and retail outlets. And it would allow individual Ohioans to grow and possess small amounts of marijuana.

"It's time for marijuana legalization in Ohio, and voters will have the opportunity to make it happen this November -- we couldn't be more excited," said ResponsibleOhio spokesman Ian James after Husted's announcement. "By reforming marijuana laws in November, we'll provide compassionate care to sick Ohioans, bring money back to our local communities and establish a new industry with limitless economic development opportunities."

Look for extensive coverage of the initiative and the campaign from the Chronicle in coming days and weeks. In the meantime, check out our in-depth coverage of the initiative and the controversy from last month here.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Uncle Bob (not verified)

Greetings, have not posted here in a while... how likely is this thing to pass?  Oregon showed us that a bad bill will still fail in a state that would pass a good bill.


It's good to have something to be excited about, again

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 7:18pm Permalink
borden (not verified)

In reply to by Uncle Bob (not verified)

Bob, it's hard to know. On the one hand, they are rumored to have tens of millions of dollars to spend. On the other hand, the oligopoly provision may reduce support (it has definitely reduced support among reformers), and 2015 is a double off year for us politically. Marijuana legalization, despite having far more conservative support than it used to have, primarily relies on Democratic, liberal voters, who turn out the best during presidential election years. Oregon and Alaska passed last year, but it was risky and they were the right places to go. Ohio is not a liberal bastion, and 2015 isn't even a Congressional election year.

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 1:09pm Permalink
JohnThomas (not verified)

I've been a marijuana consumer for 45 years, and a reform activist for 20 years.  There is no question in my mind that passing Responsible Ohio is very GOOD thing.  -   Marijuana reform was never about the growers and sellers.  Of course, it has always been about stopping the vicious government persecution of millions of good Americans who prefer near harmless marijuana over addictive, very harmful alcohol.

But the avalanche of reform success has created a huge gold rush fever that is trying to fill all spaces of reform activity and political thought.  -  WHOA, NELLIE! 

I haven't dedicated my life - along with many others - to see this vital issue usurped and twisted from us.  Consumers are STILL the key stake-holders and always will be.  Thanks to home-growing, this truth will persevere. Speaking for consumers, as long as the government continues this insane, fraudulent war against us, WE DON'T CARE what the growing/retail system looks like, as long at they stop the war on us.

AFTER they stop, sure, we will be interested.  But to imagine for one second that arguments over how the distribution system is structured could PREVENT our freedom is simply mind-blowing, and shows something has gone very wrong.

Living in California, I first felt this sick feeling like a sucker punch to the gut in 2010 when we were fighting to pass Prop 19, our re-legalization initiative.  Suddenly, we didn't just have to confront all the institutionalized bigotry and prohibition profiteers (police, prisons, prosecutors, alcohol industry, pharmaceuticals, drug testing and "treatment" industries, money laundering banks, and the drug gangs themselves).  A new enemy had joined the battle - the greedy growers against legalization.

Many were already getting rich in California from the "medical" marijuana program.  I put quotes around medical because it was clear to all players, MOST customers of medical dispensaries were there for recreational purposes.  There's nothing wrong with that.  Justice finds twisted paths at times. - But we made a big mistake when we passed medical marijuana.  We should have capped the price at $50 an ounce. When we didn't, we created a monster that could legally sale marijuana at black-market prices. 

The gold rush began, and hasn't slowed down since.  The nouveau-rich growers and dispensary owners lost all sense of being in a movement for justice and unity with consumers.  Now it was all about the bucks.  Prop 19 was such a close loss, I definitely blame these greedy growers for our continued oppression.  All four of the counties in the Emerald Triangle voted against Prop 19 - and dispensaries all over the state campaigned heavily against it.  

This was one of the greatest disillusions of my life, ranking right up there with the ascendency of Ronald Reagan's "okay-to-hate-again-in-America" era, the theft of the White House by Bush and friends, the monstrous questions around 9-11 that were carefully never answered, the pure piracy of our invasion of Iraq on my 50th birthday, the descent into depravity that was our official approval of torture, and the hideously named "Patriot Acts" - which were nothing less than the trashing of everything America stood for.

Now, this ugly, vicious greed has surfaced in Ohio, and threatens to rob us, once again, of a precious opportunity to gain our freedom.  - So, no.  R.O. hasn't reduced support among marijuana reformers.  Only among some loud, greedy growers who move within reform.  They are a cancer on the movement.

There is a voice in the wilderness here.  That is Russ Belville, Director of Portland NORML and creator of 420 Radio.  I have followed him since he began his reform career more than ten years ago and can vouch for his genuine concern for consumers and straight-shooting on the issues.

Belville finds the ten-grower provision somewhat distasteful, but he notes it pales in significance to what Responsible Ohio accomplishes - ending the war on marijuana consumers.  Just the fact that it removes probable cause for arrest is a total game-changer and knocks the stuffing out of the insidious witch-hunt.

My hope is that Ohio voters, and especially Ohio marijuana consumers, will not be bamboozled by the greedy growers as we were in California in 2010.  NOTHING trumps freedom for consumers.

R.O.'s commercial arrangements will have a short life anyway.  It is likely California and some others will join the Free States next year.  When they do, the crumbling fraud of the federal prohibition will collapse under its own dead weight soon after, as soon as 2017.  -  Then, the flourishing national marijuana market will sweep away any local structures.

Greedy growers are causing marijuana reform to take their eyes off the prize.  -  PLEASE - Listen to Russ Belville and get back on-track ASAP.  -  Our window of opportunity for freedom won't last forever.



Thu, 08/20/2015 - 4:38pm Permalink
the virgin terry (not verified)

In reply to by JohnThomas (not verified)

thanks for sharing your informed perspective, john. i agree. flawed legalization beats flat out prohibition, hands down, just as greed corrupts.

Sat, 08/22/2015 - 1:22am Permalink

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.