Marijuana Monopoly Shot Down In Ohio

Over the past week, marijuana legalization has heated up in Ohio. While states like Colorado, Washington, and Alaska experimented with medical marijuana before legalizing it on the recreational front, Ohio sought to become the first state to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana simultaneously. Early last week, many reported that the Constitutional amendment in Ohio would pass, although the margin was slim. However, on November 3, 2015, Ohio voters officially rejected the marijuana passage, at least for now.

Aside from becoming the first state to legalize medical and recreational pot use at the same time, the Ohio amendment was unusual. Specifically, Ohio identified 10 specific land plots where pot growing would be allowed. From there, marijuana distributors would have to buy from one of the 10 determined pot plots. Those whom opposed the legalization argued that having only 10 plots would create a “marijuana monopoly.”

Perhaps even odder than the proposed changed Ohio was the investor list pushing for change. Leading the charge was ResponsibleOhio, a 25 investor group that own the proposed pot farms. On the investor roll call are boy band premier Nick Lachey, former NFL player Fostee Rucker, members of the former presidential Taft family, and former NBA legend Oscar Robertson. Aside from estimating a $1 billion influx of revenue to Ohio, the advocates also claim that a 10 plot structure would hardly be a monopoly.

While the marijuana passage in Ohio failed for now, it will likely be on the ballot in the future. It will be interesting to see how Ohio and other states deal with it in the future. Seemingly upset with the results of the failed vote, Ian James, the leader of the initiave, said, “Let’s stop pretending either that Ohioans don’t consume marijuana or that only bad people do.” True or not, such a view is likely not the speech to get marijuana passed in Ohio. Perhaps a more open market system, or the feeling of a more open market will lead to a different result in Ohio down the road.

About the author: Mr. Donnini is the president and founder of Tobacco Tax Refunds, Inc. He is also multi-state sales and use tax attorney and an associate in the law firm Moffa, Gainor, & Sutton, PA, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Donnini has extensive knowledge handling wholesale tax controversy and refunds.

In his law practice Mr. Donnini's primary practice is multi-state sales and use tax as well as state corporate income tax controversy. Mr. Donnini also practices in the areas of federal tax controversy, federal estate planning, Florida probate, and all other state taxes including communication service tax, cigarette & tobacco tax, motor fuel tax, and Native American taxation. Mr. Donnini obtained his LL.M. in Taxation at NYU. Mr. Donnini is licensed to practice law in Florida. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact him via email [email protected] or phone at 954-639-4496