Section: Opinion

A pass on Issue 3

American drug policy is woefully misguided, and has been for decades. It is responsible for nonviolent offenders receiving outrageously long prison sentences, and has been employed disproportionately against people of color. Efforts to legalize marijuana, a drug no more dangerous or addictive than tobacco or alcohol, deserve support.

However, we decline to endorse the marijuana legalization referendum appearing on Ohio’s ballot this year. Issue 3 would put exclusive marijuana distribution rights in the hands of a small, predetermined set of companies. If Issue 3 passes, the resulting lack of marketplace competition will adversely affect consumers.

Voters should not settle for the poorly conceived Issue 3. They should wait for a proposal that puts them, rather than a few deep-pocketed companies, first. And such a proposal may arrive as soon as next fall. A group called Legalize Ohio 2016 appears poised to land an amendment on next November’s ballot; the proposal would create a free market for marijuana. That’s change we can get behind.

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