Update on marijuana regulation – Ohio says no, North Dakota thinking about it – #21

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com
Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Haven’t seen much news from Colorado or Washington on regulating marijuana. On the other hand, I haven’t been looking much. As a reminder, I’m watching this topic to see how badly heavy-handed regulation restrains a new industry.

Some news from other states moving toward legalization. North Dakota is taking some steps. Ohio stops.

1/2 – Rob Port at Say Anything Blog – Read What Medical Marijuana Supporters Are Hoping To Put On North Dakota’s Ballot – Article summarizes the proposed initiative to authorize medical marijuana in North Dakota.

The proposal is 30 pages long and provides huge volume of details on how to regulate medical marijuana. There are 12 specific conditions that are the only justification for getting a medical card. Extremely high limits for growers, as in 1,000 plants or 3,500 ounces of marijuana.

People living more than 40 miles from an authorized “compassionate care center” are allowed to grow their own.

Mr. Port is in favor of full legalization and thinks this is just the first step on that journey. My perception from a distance is that in California, getting a medical card means full legalization for you provided you can come up with a believable story about having chronic pain. So yes, medical is the first step.

When the initiative was first presented to the Secretary of State a week ago it was rejected for some technical reasons. The activists corrected their paperwork and resubmitted the proposal, which was accepted within the last few days. The item will be on the ballot in 2016.

11/4 – MyWay – Ohio votes down legalizing pot for medical, recreational use – The proposal in Ohio to allow recreational and medical marijuana was voted down. I previously mentioned the two options of under consideration. The initiative in front of voters would have allowed high limits for possession and growing for both medical and recreational use.

The entertaining feature of this proposal is the bill would only allow sales at 10 identified locations. As non-coincidence would have it, those 10 locations are owned by the 10 individuals who funded the initiative.

Opponents call this a monopoly. That is technically incorrect. This would be a government defined and enforced oligopoly.

A better return would be crony capitalism – so-called pro-free-market businesses using their influence with government to get lucrative special favors for themselves. This would have been the croniest crony deal I’ve ever heard of.

Imagine the consequences of having legal sellers – The full power of law enforcement would fall on all marijuana sellers who are not approved by the bill.

Picture this: police SWAT raids focused on shutting down anyone who dares open a store to compete with the 10 favored businesses, because the competitors would be criminals don’t you see. And the cronies would not have to lift a finger to take out their competition. And the legalized drug sellers wouldn’t have to break any bones; the police would put their competitors in jail.

Recreational use is legal in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia. Article says about half of the states allow medical marijuana.

11/3 – Washington Post – Ohio just rejected legalizing marijuana. What that means for the future of pot. – Polls showed that voters were in favor of legalization but the oligopoly features in the proposal were a stumbling block.

After 41% of precincts reported, the issue for us going down in flames with 65% no and 35% yes.

To counter the oligopoly feature, the legislature proposed a countermeasure which would prohibit an oligopoly in medical sales. That initiative passed.

The inside-baseball details, according to the article, are that this measure means there will not be any marijuana initiatives on the ballot for several years to come. I don’t know how that works out as a consequence, but the implication is legalization is off the table in Ohio for a while.

Article draws several conclusions for the future of legalization. I’m not sure there are any general lessons here because the extreme cronyism angle muddies the water so severely.

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