Competing marijuana legalization efforts have often criticized each others’ plans, but something remarkable has happened in Ohio as both the Green Party of Ohio and Libertarian Party of Ohio have announced their opposition to ResponsibleOhio’s marijuana legalization measure. Opposition from the two parties is rather remarkable as both have been strong advocates for marijuana legalization for decades. Whenever cannabis law reform advocates look to pass any reform measure, the Greens and Libertarians are two state party endorsements thought to be in the bag. However, ResponsibleOhio’s plan has garnered opposition from many grassroots activists and long-time allies.
“There is nothing ‘responsible’ about ResponsibleOhio,” Libertarian Party of Ohio Political Director Tricia Sprankle said in a statement. “This isn’t a proposal to restore rights to Ohioans. It’s a crony scheme to line the pockets of a few wealthy investors.”
The libertarians have supported legalization for more than 30 years but cannot support “the crony-capitalist nature” of the ResponsibleOhio plan, Sprankle said.
The Green Party also opposes a similar plan from a group calling itself Better for Ohio, which borrowed ResponsibleOhio’s amendment language designating 10 grow sites but would allow others to buy into the commercial model.
In a news release, Green Party of Ohio Co-Chair Bob Fitrakis said the plans would be “exchanging an illegal cartel, for a legal one, representing the worst of cannabis capitalism.” Fitrakis has been a member of the petitioning committee for Ohio Rights Group, which is pushing a competing proposal.
Admittedly, I need to research the situation in the Buckeye State a bit more, so I won’t weigh in on the merits of ResponsibleOhio’s legalization measure at this point. I will admit that I usually tend to personally support any measure that improves marijuana laws, believing that activists shouldn’t oppose laws that will lead to fewer arrests, prosecutions and imprisonments–improvements can always be made later. I hope that regardless the merits of ResponsibleOhio’s measure, the Ohio cannabis community can soon unite and vote on a measure that will end cannabis prohibition in the state.