Opinion: 14 Reasons To Oppose Responsible Ohio’s ‘Issue 3’

Call to the Press – Push Responsible Ohio to Divulge Who They Are

By Andy Joseph, President & CEO of Apeks Supercritical

Responsible Ohio asserts that their marijuana legalization model follows other states that have legalized – a “small number of regulated grows.” Responsible Ohio has successfully dodged the part of the model where they have to be awarded a license based on the merits of their business plan, the experience of the owners, sources of funding, and ability to succeed. This application process, followed by intense examination for selection, has been critical to the success of legal marijuana programs in other states.

Of the 23 states who have legalized marijuana, not one has granted an unknown number of unidentified individuals a constitutionally protected license to cultivate and distribute an illegal product, as this would certainly bring scrutiny from the federal government.

There are no legal requirements for Responsible Ohio to divulge who they are, what their plan is, nor who the beneficiaries of the constitutional monopoly will be. Neither our policemen nor our politicians can force Responsible Ohio to show their faces – but our press can.

Apeks Supercritical supports legalization of medical and recreational marijuana under a legal, competitive and non-burdensome regulatory construct. Apeks Supercritical OPPOSES Issue 3 for these reasons:

  1. Marijuana Grow Cultivation and Extraction (MGCE) owners/plans are not transparent.
  2. Without explanation, Responsible Ohio has refused to identify ALL owners and beneficiaries of the Marijuana Grow Cultivation and Extraction (MGCE) sites. The funders that have been identified have little to no experience or track record in the marijuana industry. This lack of transparency and experience will likely draw Federal scrutiny to Ohio for suspicion that cartels are receiving profits from the legal marijuana sales.
  3. Not just a “small number of regulated grows” anymore.
  4. At least 4 of the MGCE sites have announced they will allow up to 100 Artisan grows on the constitutionally protected MGCE sites which increases the licensing, regulation and enforcement burden for the Marijuana Control Commission (MCC) from 10 to 400. In addition, the last minute change to the constitutional amendment to allow Home Grows has the potential to increase regulatory licensing burden exponentially – if just 5% of Ohioan’s over 21 execute their constitutionally protected right to Home Grow there would be an additional 400,000 licenses to issue and enforce. Again, the large number of marijuana suppliers will likely draw Federal scrutiny to Ohio for suspicion of marijuana export across state lines.
  5. Complete control of supply chain by MGCE owners will stifle entrepreneurial opportunities.
  6. While the media tends to refer to the 10 MGCE sites as the “10 grow sites”, the constitutional amendment requires that all growing AND EXTRACTION takes place on those sites – thus the “E” in MGCE. Control of the raw plant material from the grows as well as the extracted oils give the MGCE’s complete control of the marijuana supply chain which limits the entrepreneurial opportunities to just post processing and dispensaries – the two least profitable activities of all legal marijuana commerce.
  7. No limitations on vertical integration by MGCE owners will create a “monopoly tax”.
  8. In addition to the owners of the 10 MGCE’s having complete control of the supply chain, there are no limitations on their ability to own/operate commerce areas outside of the MGCE’s. They can also be processors, dispensary owners, etc. which gives control of entire commerce chain – grow, process, sell – which is a true monopoly. Wholesale pricing will undoubtedly be more expensive for those processors and dispensary owners who are not part of the 10 MGCEs as they will be required to pay the “monopoly tax.”
  9. Details for Federal compliance pushed to nonexistent Marijuana Control Commission after the amendment is already passed.
  10. Rather than building a marijuana regulatory body into an existing group like the Ohio Liquor Control Commission, the constitutional amendment creates an entirely new Marijuana Control Commission. The burden on a non-existent commission to form, develop and implement regulations, and enforce the new laws across more than 400,000 separate entities is an impossible task that will inevitably lead to an unorganized implementation that could garner Federal attention to Ohio for suspicion of marijuana export across state lines.
  11. May 30 rollout deadline and lobbying pressure risks haphazard execution
  12. The constitutional amendment states that the implementation of the program SHALL take place by May 30, 2016. The hard deadline and no way to modify the constitutional amendment will force a careless rollout that could garner Federal attention to Ohio for suspicion of marijuana export across state lines as well as allow marijuana to be distributed to children.
  13. Straight-to-Recreational legalization model is untried and unproven.
  14. Going straight from illegal to recreational – which has never been accomplished by any legal state – adds a further level of complexity for the MCC to handle, and when coupled with the tight deadline for a non-existent commission to develop a complete implementation presents serious risks of Federal intervention. This intervention could halt the entire marijuana program in Ohio, which would be a huge black eye for the entire marijuana movement.

90% of Ohioans support medical marijuana – there will be a better option in 2016. I strongly urge my fellow Ohioans to exercise patience and not allow a constitutional hijacking that will only benefit a handful of wealthy investors.


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  • Mary

    Here are my reasons for voting no:

    The Issue 3 amendment was put together haphazardly. Originally it started out with medical marijuana, but only for “debilitating medical conditions.” (Section B of Issue 3) (Which conditions? We don’t get to know till after it is voted in. What if your condition is not on that list?) After they figured out that was too strict and people would not vote for that, they threw into the amendment, “personal use” and “home grow”.

    Home grow requires a $50 licensing fee PER PERSON. Not household. The amendment say that you would have to follow the rules they will have in place. It must be kept in a locked area away from those under the age of 21 and not in public view. (Section D of Issue 3) Who is going to make sure those who are licensed are following the rules? The Ohio Marijuana Control Commission (Section I of Issue 3) may now come to your home and make sure you are complying. Don’t tell me they are, “not going to do that”, when they have not said they won’t do it. Tell me how they are going to make sure these people with “home grow” licenses are going to obey the rules? Think this committee will just think everyone will obey them? Heck no, they will logically say that you have to be inspected. What if someone gave away some of their home grow and it made someone else sick? They are not going to let people just get a $50 license and leave it at that, if they are allowing them to give away marijuana. (Up to one ounce at a time) (Section D of Issue 3)

    Personal use is a whole new issue. How much is an ounce going to cost at one of these stores?(Section E of Issue 3) Most likely way more then it does now. Did you know that even if Issue 3 does pass that if someone in your city wants to open a shop to sell, it now has to go on the ballot and you must vote again locally? (Section A of Issue 3)

    It IS a monopoly. A monopoly is not defined by the number of owner(s), but by the fact that they have total control over who (1,100 (+/- a few))) other shops can buy from. (Section H of Issue 3) The definition of a monopoly is defined, by Oxford, as the following: The exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service. Vote Yes on 2! – If issue 3 doesn’t create a monopoly, why are Responsible Ohio commercials telling us to vote no on issue 2? If issue 3 isn’t a monopoly, issue 2 shouldn’t matter.

    The issue states that all Medical Marijuana shops must be non-profit,(Section C of Issue 3), but yet those ten, rich growers, will be “for profit”.

    They keep using fear – We will have to wait till 2020 or maybe never to get something else in place. (Yet, Responsible Ohio says if this years ballot issue doesn’t pass, they will have another amendment for the ballot for next year!)

    They use guilt tactics (This little girl has seizures and that is why you should vote yes! How inhumane we are for not thinking of all the cancer patients.) to try to get people to think that we will never again in Ohio be able to get marijuana legalized.

    This is NOT something that can be easily changed. It would take another constitutional amendment to do so. That would mean another amendment with 300,000 + signatures.

    I smoke for medical reasons, possibly one that would not have been on the debilitating medical conditions list, but is listed in other states as a reason to smoke medical marijuana. It has been incredibly difficult being a supporter of legalization and not supporting this ballot issue, but after reading the amendment and understanding it’s implications I can only ask that you…

    Please Vote No on Issue 3!

    • tnpe6pgvm5

      If you smoke for medical reasons you are currently a criminal in Ohio. I’d bet that if you knew for a fact you were going to get caught, jailed, and face the consequences of a lifetime criminal record for your actions this coming year, you might be inclined to support Issue 3.

    • Goodman Brown

      Regardless your feelings on Issue 3, VOTE NO ON ISSUE 2. Issue 2 seriously challenges Ohio’s answer for direct action/direct democracy, i.e. citizens speaking for themselves when the elected officials will not. Issue 2 was first a reactionary step against Issue 3, but more than that, Issue 2 further strips away the rights of Ohio’s citizens.

  • tnpe6pgvm5

    Most of your reasons are pretty weak. Unfortunately here in Ohio we have a very tight-knit group of legislators who do not consider themselves beholden to the electorate, and a constitutional process is the only means available to truly fulfill the will of the people.

    I agree that Issue 3 is not perfect, but fundamentally it addresses the biggest problem: that the facts surrounding marijuana and prohibition have been ignored for far too long.

    I disagree that Ohio will have another opportunity in 2016. If Issue 3 fails, it just gives more time to the legislature to figure out ways to prevent future attempts. Something about “two in the hand is better than three in the bush” comes to mind.

    Sent in my ballot by mail last week. YES on 3, NO on 2.

  • Robert Rhea

    Glad to be watching it from the outside. Only good side I see at least people wont be going to jail or prison for relief of illnesses or using it as a way to deal with that bad day at work. See the concern of not knowing who the 10 are and the monopolizing of a industry that should be open to any legitimate person wanting to get involved.Hope Industrial is as big a thing as recreational for Ohio. 100% utilization of this plant would bring unlimited amount of jobs,research possibility to restore your economy with the 10,000 practical good things it can do.This Hoosier hopes to drive 45 mins to a hour away to work in something been wrongfully persecuted for the last 40 yrs. Good Luck Ohio.Wish you the best hope they don’t ruin it.

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