Ohio Lawmakers Want to Ban Marijuana ‘Monopoly’

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Ohio legislators don’t want the marijuana business to look like the state’s casino industry if voters legalize cannabis this fall.

In 2009, a group that included Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was granted exclusive rights to build four casinos in the state.

Similarly, a proposal from a group called ResponsibleOhio would green-light medical and recreational marijuana but allow just 10 cultivation operations. Under the plan, major investors in the legalization campaign would control those grow sites.

Lawmakers are mulling a voter referendum that would put an anti-monopoly issue on the ballot this year. If passed, it may effectively kill ResponsibleOhio’s plan.

The group is currently collecting the 306,000 signatures it needs to put the legalization initiative before voters.

State Auditor Dave Yost last month made a pitch to the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Committee (OCMC) that would require companies hoping to create monopolies to have two initiatives passed rather than just one.

An OCMC committee will meet this week to discuss proposals to block initiatives giving economic benefits to individuals or small groups.