Ganja games in the land of the buckeyes


Since Colorado voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012, there have been a slew of legalization votes around the country — and the good guys have won most of them.

The most spectacular fail was in Ohio.

In 2015, Ohio voters rejected Ballot Issue 3, which would have legalized recreational pot in the state. “Rejected” understates what happened. Issue 3 lost by a nearly 2 to 1 margin. It lost in every one of Ohio’s 88 counties. It lost despite the fact that the measure’s backers had raised and spent more than $20 million getting it on the ballot and campaigning for it. It was a “Not only no, but hell no, and don’t you forget it!” kind of rejection.

So was Ohio a black hole of reefer madness? Nope. A poll taken a month before the 2015 election found that 53 percent of the voters actually supported legal recreational marijuana. And less than a year after the defeat of Issue 3, the Ohio legislature passed a medical marijuana bill.

The problem wasn’t that Ohioans were anti-pot. The problem was that they were anti-Issue 3.

Issue 3 read a lot like the legalization initiatives passed in Colorado, California and Massachusetts. It legalized possession for personal use, allowed Ohioans to grow a few plants of their own, provided for legal production and retail sales, and so on.

But there was a catch. It also contained a provision that proved to be a deal-breaker of catastrophic proportions: A clause that limited commercial growing of marijuana in Ohio to 10 specific locations — that happened to be controlled by Issue 3’s main sponsors and campaign funders.

Issue 3 wasn’t a citizen-sponsored grass roots initiative. The proposal was the product of a group of investors that figured they could make a killing if they could pass a recreational/medical marijuana legalization initiative that also gave them a monopoly over where legal pot could be grown in the state — and what’s more, they tried to write that monopoly into the state’s constitution.

So, they created a group called ResponsibleOhio, which dropped more than $20 million petitioning Issue 3 onto the ballot and campaigning for it.

Brilliant idea, but the voters gagged on it.

One of the co-founders of ResponsibleOhio is a guy named Jimmy Gould, who is the chairman of Cincinnati-based Green Light Acquistions and CEO of CannAscend, the last company that unsuccessfully applied for one of a handful of medical marijuana production licenses the state of Ohio is preparing to issue (he’s suing).

Gould is a long-time supporter of marijuana legalization for ideological reasons as well as for business ones. And evidently he doesn’t give up easily. Earlier this week he announced a new petition drive for recreational marijuana in Ohio, this time without the poison pill provision that doomed Issue 3.

The new proposal “is as different from Issue 3 as night and day… This is not Issue 3 revisited,” Gould said.

“The concept of the rich getting richer goes right out the window with this,” he added.

Although the language of the new proposal hasn’t been finalized, it would fully legalize marijuana use, cultivation, possession, processing and dispensing, and regulate it like Ohio’s alcohol-related businesses, Gould said.

He also said that he and his backers would spend “whatever it takes” to get his new proposal on the ballot.

They will have to gather 305,592 valid signatures to get the proposal on the ballot. The petition drive will start next month.

The biggest challenge here may be how Ohioans perceive Gould, and whether they can keep that separate from how they perceive his latest initiative.

Still Gould probably had the wit and resources to pay for some statewide polling before deciding to go public with his latest proposal. Chances are the results were promising or he wouldn’t be coming forward.

The fact that Gould conflates making money with doing the right thing makes me cringe some, but the fact that he’s completely candid about it — together with the fact that he appears to have learned from overreaching on Issue 3 — may keep that from becoming a major issue.

America is the land of second chances. Maybe Ohio voters will give him one. 

  • Brian Kelly

    Marijuana consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All American pastime, alcohol.

    Plain and simple!

    Legalize Marijuana Nationwide!

    It’s time for us, the majority of The People to take back control of our national marijuana policy. By voting OUT of office any and all politicians who very publicly and vocally admit to having an anti-marijuana, prohibitionist agenda! Time to vote’em all OUT of office. Period. Plain and simple.

    Politicians who continue to demonize Marijuana, Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials who prefer to ruin peoples lives over Marijuana possession rather than solve real crimes who fund their departments toys and salaries with monies acquired through Marijuana home raids, seizures and forfeitures, and so-called “Addiction Specialists” who make their income off of the judicial misfortunes of our citizens who choose marijuana, – Your actions go against The Will of The People and Your Days In Office Are Numbered! Find new careers before you don’t have one.

    The People have spoken! Get on-board with Marijuana Legalization Nationwide, or be left behind and find new careers. Your choice.

    Legalize Nationwide!

    • Brian Kelly

      The “War on Marijuana” has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful “War on Drugs” that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.

      Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions more of our yearly tax dollars fighting a never ending “War on Marijuana”, lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. It’s a no brainer.

      The Prohibition of Marijuana has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal records which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?

      Marijuana is much safer to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?

      The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less marijuana “crimes” because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.

      Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

      Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!

      • Brian Kelly

        In the prohibitionist’s world, anybody who consumes the slightest amount of marijuana responsibly in the privacy of their own homes are “stoners” and “dopers” that need to be incarcerated in order to to protect society.

        In their world, any marijuana use equates to marijuana abuse, and it is their God given duty to worry about “saving us all” from the “evils” of marijuana use.

        Who are they to tell us we can’t choose marijuana, the safer choice instead of alcohol for relaxation, after a long, hard day, in the privacy of our own homes?

        People who consume marijuana are smart, honest, hard working, educated, and successful people too, who “follow the law” also.(except for their marijuana consumption under it’s current prohibition of course) .

        Not the stereotypical live at home losers prohibitionists make them out to be. They are doctors, lawyers, professors, movie stars, and politicians too.

        Several Presidents of The United States themselves, along with Justin Trudeau, Bill Gates, and Carl Sagan have all confessed to their marijuana use. As have a long and extensive list of successful people throughout history at one point or other in their lives.

        Although that doesn’t mean a dam thing to people who will make comments like “dopers” and “stoners” about anybody who uses the slightest amount of Marijuana although it is way safer than alcohol.

        To these people any use equals abuse, and that is really ignorant and full of hypocrisy. While our society promotes, advertises, and even glorifies alcohol consumption like it’s an All American pastime.

        There is nothing worse about relaxing with a little marijuana after a long hard day than having a drink or two of alcohol.

        So come off those high horses of yours. Who are you to dictate to the rest of society that we can’t enjoy Marijuana, the safer choice over alcohol, in the privacy of our own homes?

        We’ve worked real hard our whole lives to provide for our loved ones. We don’t appreciate prohibitionists trying to impose their will and morals upon us all.

        Has a marijuana consumer ever forced you to use it? Probably not. So nobody has the right to force anybody not to either.

        Don’t try to impose your morality and “clean living” upon everybody else with Draconian Marijuana Laws, and we won’t think you’re such prohibitionist hypocrites.

        Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!

  • Jorge Julio

    no…he doesn’t have the wit.

  • YETI67

    GO BUCKEYES!!!!!!!!!!!!