A proposal that could be voted on this fall would make southwest Ohio the marijuana-growing capital of the state. If the proposal is approved, Hamilton, Butler and Clermont Counties would become home to a cannabis cultivation facility that is supported by local celebrities.
The proposal would legalize both medical and recreational marijuana. Under the amendment, Ohioans could open marijuana manufacturing facilities, retail stores and medical dispensaries. The amendment, however, limits the number of marijuana cultivation facilities allowed in the state to 10 specified sites.
The proposal has attracted investments from local celebrities
The proposal has attracted investments from a number of local celebrities including former Bengals defensive end Frostee Rucker, Indian Hill philanthropist Barbara Gould and former basketball legend Oscar Robertson.
Although, the sites in Hamilton, Butler and Clermont counties are currently owned by local businesses, over the last few weeks the owners have received offers from unidentified buyers.
The buyers offered to pay a non-refundable down payment on the properties if the owners agreed to take the properties off of the market for at least six months. The sellers did not realize that the sale was related to marijuana legalization.
Proposal faces opposition
Anti-drug groups and Ohio elected officials have bashed the proposal because they think marijuana is dangerous and are concerned that the proposal will become part of the state constitution.
“What will we have next, 12 monopolies for whorehouses in the 12 largest counties? It’s outrageous,” auditor Dave Yost said last month.
The commissioner of Hamilton County, Greg Hartmann, said that he is worried that legalizing marijuana could lead to an increase in marijuana use among young people.
Up to the voters
“We’ll live with it. I’m not going to be a proponent of it, though,” Clermont County Sheriff Tim Rodenberg said. “It will be up to the voters. … There can be a lot of collateral damage that voters need to think about.”
If the proposal makes it onto the Ohio ballot, voters will have to weigh the pros against the cons. Although, researchers have found that marijuana use has increased among young people in Colorado, they also found that overall crime has gone down since marijuana was legalized.
Ohio, and a good number of states, could use a new source of tax revenue and marijuana might be the answer. States that have legalized marijuana have generated significant revenue from its legalization and researchers predict that these states will continue to see increased revenue growth.