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Pot Battle in Ohio

Tags Corporate WelfareThe Police StateInterventionismMonopoly and Competition


UPDATE: The fact that marijuana legalization ballot measure (Issue #3) failed in Ohio is not an indication that legalization is not supported by the people. It was because they rejected government monopoly of pot growing as shown in the victory in the passage of Issue #2 which bans such monopolies. Its a great libertarian victory overall.


There is an interesting political battle in Ohio over the legalization of marijuana that has proponents of legalization fighting one another. On the ballot is Issue 3 which would legalize marijuana for medical and recreational purposes. It has been a well funded campaign and seems likely to win, but the problem for supporters of legalization is that the same funders of the campaign would each receive a monopoly for the growing of legal pot. According to the New York Times there are 10 investors who would receive the monopolies:

The backers call themselves ResponsibleOhio. Among the investors: the former professional basketball player Oscar Robertson, the fashion designer Nanette Lepore, Mr. Gould and two great-great-grand-nephews of President William Howard Taft. Each investment group has committed as much as $40 million to build facilities if Issue 3 passes.

Some proponents of legalization openly oppose Issue 3 because of the monopoly privileges that would be granted. Even the Drug Policy Alliance, a pro-legalization group, has remained neutral on Issue 3.

Also in the political mix for Ohio voters is Issue 2 which attempts to block the monopoly provision of Issue 3. According to Cleveland.com:

Issue 2 is the legislature-sponsored "anti-monopoly amendment." In addition to making it more difficult for future initiatives establishing monopolies or special economic benefits in the Ohio Constitution, Issue 2 contains a provision supporters say would nullify Issue 3 if both pass.

In the event that both measures pass, the issues would probably end up in a lengthy court battle. Let's hope in ends with both legalization and competition for Ohio. Other states such as New York and Nevada are facing the similar decisions between prohibition vs. legalization and monopoly.






Contact Mark Thornton

Mark Thornton is the Peterson-Luddy Chair in Austrian Economics and a Senior Fellow at the Mises Institute. He is the book review editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, and has authored seven books and is a frequent guest on national radio shows.