When a bunch of rich people get together to draft legislation we can safely say that it is going to be bad for people who are not rich. Responsible Ohio, the controversial marijuana legalization amendment to the Ohio constitution is going to be put in front of voters in November of 2015. If you had told me a year ago that I would be five months away from being able to vote for marijuana legalization I would have checked to make sure that my voter registration was good, bookmarked a page to buy good seeds from and started making my brand new weed growing area in the basement. This is why Responsible Ohio is such a fucking bummer, not only am I not camping out in front of my polling station to vote yes but I am writing this to tell people to vote NO on Responsible Ohio with me.
I want to start this with an admission that I am very inflexible when it comes to taking my rights back. I want to be able to grow marijuana and I don’t think the state needs to have anything to do with it. I want to be able to buy marijuana at a store, let me stress the word STORE. I want it to be owned by some person that is really in to weed, has experience with weed, and grows really great weed. I want to be allowed to have as much weed as I want, I should be allowed to fill a barrel with cannabutter if I want to. Beer people can have all of the beer they want so I want that courtesy. The most important thing that I want is to be able to go to restaurant and have a chef serve me food with marijuana in it and sit with other people who like marijuana and socialize, we have never been able to do this and this is why we are seen as a deviant subculture. We can’t BE in public, sure we can sneak hits of weed on the street and nobody really cares if you are high but we still feel like we are hiding, and if we can’t get together in a public setting and use marijuana then we are still hiding.
Marijuana is very different from things like bazookas, lasers and grenades in that we all want it to be legal and its legalization would pose no risk to anyone at all. In fact, the most dangerous thing about marijuana is that some fucking maniac cop is going to kick your door in, shoot your dog and flash grenade your family if they think you might be growing some plants. Responsible Ohio fails to prevent that from happening. There are strict limits on how much a private marijuana user can grow. This gives the state the pretext to make sure that you are not growing more than you are supposed to. How would they know this? It seems to me that if there are limits to how much you can grow then there is probably going to have to be someone who enforces those limits.
Now, if I were reading this I would say “It seems to him…this sounds like speculation to me.” Speculation is all we can do with Responsible Ohio. The reason for this is that Responsible Ohio seems to have some questions themselves. This amendment to the Ohio constitution calls for the creation of a 7 person commission. The commission is responsible for establishing the actual rules AFTER the amendment is passed. Do you want to open a dispensary? O.K., well you’re going to need a $10,000 license to do that and you are going to have to be 10,000 feet away from any place a kid might see, and probably some other requirements that the commission will have to decide AFTER you vote. Are you concerned that the government might try to regulate the potency of your marijuana? Me too, the commission will let us know about that AFTER you vote. The commission is appointed by the Governor, a rich guy who I’m sure will pick some of his scandalous friends . The only other task we know that the commission is in charge of is real time monitoring of every plant from germination to extraction to customer transaction.
Now that we know as much as we can possibly know how the stores work we can look at what Responsible Ohio will mean for people who actually want to use marijuana openly. While there are provisions in the bill that would allow for establishment of not for profit dispensaries for medical marijuana patients, these patients are not protected from employment discrimination for using a prescription drug. I don’t want to make some shitty stupid asshole hire people who smoke weed recreationally but if a person has cancer and they are using marijuana to help them eat then they should be protected by the law. Medical patients can use in public provided they have their card with them. The rest of us aren’t as “lucky” as patients are. Marijuana stores may only sell marijuana and marijuana related merchandise and it is illegal to use in a marijuana store. Now you could be saying “It’s illegal to use in a liquor store too.” which is true as hell, but you can go to a bar and drink liquor with your friends and tell each other that you love Bob Seger and vape a mango flavored E Juice. Under Responsible Ohio, marijuana users will have no such privilege. Responsible Ohio makes it illegal to use marijuana in public. No restaurants, no bakeries, no patio to do bonghits with a bunch of cool motherfuckers and talk shit. Just get the weed and get it home. That’s it, treat it like a dildo.
So how legal will marijuana be under Responsible Ohio? Barely. You can go to a store that sells it, and you can buy it and take it home and do it. Kind of like how we are all recreationally using it now. This is not how we want marijuana to be legal, there are only 10 places that will be allowed to grow more than 8 ounces at a time. 10 places that have ties to a group of investors who are paying for this campaign. 10 places where all of the commercially available marijuana can be grown, then they get to put it on a truck and take it to a processing plant that will regulate the potency, and manufacture all marijuana infused products. After that the marijuana and the marijuana products are taken to the dispensaries where you can go get it and go home. I can’t imagine a more environmentally irresponsible process. People are capable of growing and selling their weed from the same place. This should be encouraged, not outlawed.
This is not just some law, it’s a constitutional amendment. This would be the permanent state of marijuana in Ohio. We should pass a law that encourages people who have developed a craft during the dark days of prohibition to thrive after legalization. We should pass a law that allows us to socialize and share a plant that the state never had any business outlawing any way. I am not begging on my knees for the first opportunity to have marijuana legalized, I don’t want some Governor Kasich appointed commission making decisions about it. I don’t want the police to be allowed to arrest ANYONE for having marijuana and I don’t want a monopoly on the growing of anything. Responsible Ohio is a piece of shit bill and there are better opportunities that will be ready by 2016.