The Republican Liberty Caucus of Ohio (RLCOH) announced today its opposition to the Responsible Ohio Marijuana Amendment due to its insertion of another monopoly in the Ohio Constitution, as well as concerns with HJR4, recommended by Auditor David Yost to prevent citizen initiatives from creating monopolies in the state constitution.
“Regardless of where someone stands on the issue of marijuana, we cannot afford more cronyism etched into the state constitution,” said Bill Yarbrough, Chairman of the RLCOH.
“The amendment proposed by Responsible Ohio effectively provides private entities with a government mandated captive market,” said Mike Newbern, RLCOH Legislative Affairs Chair. “It expressly prohibits the sale of imported marijuana and marijuana infused products. It is also vague in the homegrown licensing requirements and contains no stopgap to prevent the marijuana industry from preserving profits by limiting the number of licenses.”
Newbern goes on to explain that “investors in the industry are not prohibited from serving on the commission which has unilateral authority to set the rules pursuant to the issue of licenses and effectively deny licenses at will.”
“We were pleased to see Auditor Yost’s concern with how our system rewards deep pocketed special interests who want to use our citizen-led initiative process to their advantage,” said Yarbrough. “We would like to see a proposal that prohibits any legislation granting monopoly status to the well-connected. However, we are concerned with some of the proposed language we’ve seen. No one should be able to install monopolies into Ohio’s constitution or revised code – this includes not just proposals put forth by citizen initiative, but from our legislators and the governor as well. There should be no monopoly in granting monopolies.”