Ready or Not

Ever play Monopoly? As kids, it was a Friday-night ritual with my cousins for a while, though I was never much good … it takes too damn long, and I get bored. Mostly, I was there for the pizza and popcorn. What’s the meaning of those little place markers anyway — the sports car, iron, top hat, show dog and such? Symbols of status, and conspicuous consumption? How cute. my stepdaughter’s older girl is another story, an obsessive competitor in everything. She and her grandpa will keep a game running for days, with neither stubborn soul ever willing to concede defeat. But Mishal cheats,so I refuse to play with her. There’s more than enough of that shit in the real world for my taste. Then again, cheating is fully in the spirit of the game, so I guess I shouldn’t scold her for it. She’ll learn the hard way, if ever. But maybe I should pull out the old Scrabble set … if I can’t hold my own with words, I’ll give it up.

Okay, that’s my long-winded way of introducing yet another example of in-our-faces ruthless capitalism, coming soon to a state near me. This specific measure may or may not pass, I won’t even guess yet. But Ohio has been through this crap before. We voted down casinos more than once. Did the folks so avid to rake in money on gambling give up? You know better — money never gives up. Never. They doubled down, spending time and money where it would do most good — “educating” our voters … and our legislators. And … you know the rest. We were eventually blessed with our very own casinos. At least fifteen of them. We’re so lucky the free market has our best interests at heart.

http://www.worldcasinodirectory.com/ohio/casino-list

So here we go again. Somehow, it was almost shocking to see ads for the current marijuana legalization ballot issue hit local television this summer. I don’t expect much 21st-century legislation to crop up here in the heartland. It’s not Indiana, but … you wouldn’t mistake it for Amsterdam, even if we had canals and windmills. My so-cynical reaction was to guess that Monsanto must already have fully GMO-ed, Roundup-readied, and patented, next-generation pot seeds. And to wonder who’s bought up (or confiscated?) all the best growing land here in the wild midwest. Be interesting to see recent property-transfer records for Meggs County, I thought. (Though perhaps not — no proposed sites are listed for it … maybe the amateurs who’ve been hard at work there for decades as I’ve been told, wouldn’t sell, or wouldn’t sell cheap. Interesting.)

http://ballotpedia.org/Ohio_Marijuana_Legalization_Initiative,_Issue_3_(2015)

In a way, I’m not all that concerned about this issue, marijuana’s never been my thing. I would love to see an end to our ludicrous and shameful so-called war on drugs, but it’s been so good for so much dirty business that I won’t hold my breath. On the face of it, this would seem a great improvement for Ohio’s people. Prohibition never works, except to make something people want harder to get and more expensive. A classic marketing strategy — manufacturing scarcity. Legalization should help with that, to a point. But no one’s putting up twenty million dollars out of the goodness of their hearts. They expect to make even more. Which I guess is fine. Unless they gouge those needing marijuana for its many medical uses — a despicable practice that’s all too prevalent and profitable these days. I don’t much like establishing yet another monopolistic industry, rigged from the outset to bolster our grinding corporate power structure. Then again, we know our people can be most creative and dedicated where evading invasive and irksome laws and restrictions are concerned. We’ll see what happens.

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Ohio may muck up marijuana legalization—here’s how.

Daily Kos * Thu Sep 03, 2015 at 05:26 PM PDT

byRachel ColyerHYPERLINK \l “?friend_id=338796&is_stream=1”Follow

Currently, there are two competing proposals in Ohio that could dictate the process for marijuana legalization in the state if either is enacted.

The problem is one could be very bad for the state, and it’s the one on the ballot this year.

Responsible Ohio has a proposal which will be on the November 2015 ballot. This proposal is a seriously flawed law which would effectively create a monopoly on the marijuana industry controlled by a few wealthy investors who are fueling the campaign, to the tune of $20 million dollars.

The proposal would allow recreational and medical marijuana in Ohio. The most controversial aspect of the proposal is that the plan would limit marijuana cultivation to only 10 grow sites in the state and those grow sites have already been promised to—you guessed it—the wealthy investors who have ponied up to run this $20 million dollar campaign. This law will further line the pockets of the investors and shut out competition from other enterprising individuals who would want to break into the burgeoning market of marijuana products.

Marijuana will be taxed at 15% for wholesale and commercial use and 5% for retail use, and will only be available for purchase through the limited number of stores, which will be set at one store per 10,000 residents or about 1200 licensed stores around the state. Those stores can only sell marijuana grown at one of those 10 sites.

Responsible Ohio defends the proposal, claiming that the grow sites will not be coordinated and that they will be competing with each other, though there is little incentive for them to actually compete through lower prices when they have the market cornered. They also claim the industry will be open to the public and that those roughly 1200 business licenses will be available for the public.

Many of the stalwart national organizations working on drug policy have critiqued this plan, experts like Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance (If you haven’t watched his TED talk on the Drug War do it after you finish reading this). The experts over at High Times have some critiques too (and here is the response from Responsible Ohio).

A competing proposal from Ohioans to end prohibition, which created its campaign with the goal of being on the ballot in November 2016 seems like a much better option because of its competitive, open markets. Any adult will be able to apply to a state board for a license to grow, manufacture, or sell marijuana or marijuana products based on demand. There are no arbitrary caps set by this law—it would be based on those interested in entering the market and the demand in the marketplace.

This could allow for a vibrant competitive marijuana industry where any entrepreneur could start a business, after acquiring the license.

The debate, over these two proposals is vibrant and vehement—there are many pro-legalization supporters who are willing to wait another year for a better plan and there are some pro-legalization supporters who are willing to take what they can get sooner.

I would caution those supporters who choose the latter—many subscribe to the idea that if voters don’t like it they can change it.

Both of these proposals are constitutional amendments.

Changing a constitutional amendment is a painstaking process . There are three ways: It will take 60% of the Ohio legislature, a constitutional convention requiring 2/3 of legislators to agree, or a petition campaign with a Ohio Ballot board oversight and acceptance, then another vote of majority by the public.

That’s damn near impossible. Now, consider that those really wealthy people who have already invested millions of dollars in this campaign will fight like hell with all of their newly minted marijuana money to maintain their control. Ohioans will be stuck with whatever system they choose in the next two years—it’ll be tough to dismantle a system backed by a wealthy monopoly.

Now, to add additional confusion, there is a ballot measure on the November 2015 ballot which would ban constitutional monopolies—it’s a counter attempt to block the Responsible Ohio bill and others like it. If both were to pass in 2015 everything would be tied up in the Ohio supreme court.

The decision on the ballot this year could be disastrous. I support legalization but I urge Ohioans to wait until 2016 and get the right legalization policy. Rushing to the legalization line in 2015 is a bad idea and Ohioans will be stuck with their decision which could lead to less choice, competition, and higher prices. Or, folks can wait a year and get a flexible proposal which could lead to prosperity for many eager would be marijuana entrepreneurs, and more choice and freedom for marijuana enthusiasts.

Vote No on Issue 3 to vote against Responsible Ohio’s proposal. Vote Yes on issue 2 to vote against monopolies in the Ohio constitution. Then wait until 2016 for a better proposal.

The details: Responsible Ohio plan (the one on the ballot)

– over 21 can possess up to 1 ounce, and grow four plants after paying a $50 registration fee

– 10 commercial growing sites, with 1100-1200 licenses for retail and production of marijuana-based products

– 5% retail tax, and 15% tax for wholesale.

Ohioans to end Prohibition proposal

– over 21 can possess up to 100 grams of marijuana, with possession of more than 100 but less than 1000 grams is a ticketable offense, and adults can grow up to 6 plants

– any adult or corporation will be able to apply for a license to grow, manufacture, or sell marijuana or products

– tax rates will be $1 per gram of flowers, and $5 per sale of a seedling for wholesale

– consumers who are not patients will pay a 5% retail tax.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/09/04/1418213/-Ohio-may-muck-up-marijuana-legalization-here-s-how?

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However this works out … I wonder. Once it’s legal, will we miss marajuana’s romantic outlaw image, or the music and humor we’ve had as a result? It will be extremely weird trying to explain the context for so many drug references from the last fifty years of popular culture. Offhand, I don’t know any good meth lab or crack house jokes or songs, but that may just be my ignorance. Or maybe such drugs aren’t much fun.

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About l. l. frederick

I'm pretty ordinary, so I find any number of things in the world interesting, among them: books, music, flowers, food, social justice, politics and (sometimes!) people. As for my writing, I've decided that I can be subtle and tasteful when our only problems are esthetic ones. Or when I'm dead, whichever comes first. In the meantime, read at your own risk.
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16 Responses to Ready or Not

  1. Interesting in-state politics. Marijuana in my state (WA) is now legal, and the ballot initiative which passed it turned out to be a good law. Badly needed revenues are flowing into state coffers, and otherwise law-abiding folks aren’t being thrown into the criminal justice system. Even before it was legalized, marijuana use was pretty much ubiquitous among the populace. Just in my 20-unit apartment building, virtually every adult smokes pot. It was wrong to criminalize it in the first place, and the federal government should remove MJ from its Schedule-1 drug (i.e. controlled substance) classification.

    • Robert, Our government seems to do the right thing only as a last resort, sadly enough. And do we ever learn? Alcohol prohibition worked so well, we’ve tried the same stupid thing with recreational drugs ever since. It’s done wonders for the criminal justice/prison industry, not so much for our people. I’m just waiting for caffeine to be banned — THEN! I’ll have some skin in the drug games! Thanks for your comment, as always. – Linda

  2. sojourner says:

    Linda,

    You can bet, in this hell hole state, if this is passed (I could give a shit either way) that the pigs will be screwing the weed up (Monsanto, etc) and how it gets to “we the people” (marketing/distribution). As you put it, capitalism. I hate this word!

    The very fact that this is “on the ballot” tells me that some oinker has seen the trend around the country and wants to cash in on the profits: the poor little oinkers’ ready reserve is down to a half billion, and he can’t have that.

    I’ve read so many articles (not all the way through) claiming the health benefits of pot, and I am suspicious of everything dealing with the health benefits of this and that.

    I guess I no longer trust anything or anyone, when they are trying to sell me something!

    People get drunk all the time, so what is the difference between smoking a doob and getting drunk, beyond saving your liver?

    • Sojourner, I never did get the abhorrence of pot. I doubt it’s a positive good in most respects, but it’s not the absolute tool of the devil either, as we were warned for years. My partner says it’s been illegal to support the beermakers, but that seems too simple. Who knows?
      Buyer beware has been prudent probably since we were trading rocks with one another. You might think we put up with government and such in part to mitigate the exhausting need to suspect everything and everyone around us. But … when it’s the craven servant of those selling us shit, you get … what we’ve got here and now.
      Thanks for your good comments, always! – Linda

  3. sojourner says:

    “Sojourner, I never did get the abhorrence of pot. I doubt it’s a positive good in most respects, but it’s not the absolute tool of the devil either, as we were warned for years.”

    It is a natural plant that has some health benefits, as most plants do. But unlike alcohol, which also comes from the natural, the elite are just now beginning to wake up to the fact that they can gain more wealth and power by legalizing it. And they will screw any benefits pot has, just like they have done with everything else, including our air/climate, water, land, food and medications.

    Although pot should have always been legal all along, this is the reason I’m not sure legalization is such a great idea: if people want pot today, they can go buy it almost anywhere (illegally) and know, if the dealer is reputable, that the pot will not have been tainted in any way. But will folks have this same guarantee if the state and fed assholes take over?

    It’s just more of the same old hypocritical bullshit that is so rampant in this country and world today.

    Thanks, Linda! I always look forward to your postings!

    • Sojourner, Thanks for your kind words! It is infuriating and ultimately disastrous that our system sees everything, including humans, as merely something to exploit at any cost for money and power, period. It’s no way to run a planet! – Linda

    • Sojourner, you’re correct that this legalization initiative (Issue 3) in Ohio is simply a scheme by capitalist elites to create and monopolize a marijuana industry. That’s why some members in the state legislature were motivated to put the anti-monopoly referendum (Issue 2) on the ballot.

      A similar ruse was tried in my state (WA), but it failed. Voters had a choice between two competing initiatives – the first offered by grassroots organizers, and the second by special interests who wanted to defeat it. Fortunately, Washingtonians saw through the ruse and approved the first while rejecting the second.

      This situation in Ohio is a perfect example of moneyed interests taking advantage of populist apathy/disorganization and preempting the public will. Democracy cannot work properly if the people do not engage in politics. Such disconnect between everyday life and government creates easy opportunities for special interest exploitation. As Americans become more disillusioned and voter turnout continues to drop, this power vacuum in democracy will be increasingly filled with the dire specter of corporatism.

      • Almost as if that’s the plan, yes. Make us feel hopeless so we’ll put up with whatever money and power want. It may be interesting to see if voter turnout is higher than usual for an off-year election — if so, it must be for Issue 3, as there’s very little else on the ballot.

  4. Hopefully Ohio voters will be discerning enough to vote for the right initiative.

    • I’m not sure enough folks do their homework, but I hope so too. Thing is, only the monopoly-friendly proposal is on the ballot this year. Of course, some folks think the Democrats are saving the ‘good’ one for next year, just to push voter turnout. But none of us is cynical, right? Thanks for your comment. – Linda

  5. No difference between monopoly owners of the 10 commercial growing site Ohio “cartel” and the Saudi royal family’s monopoly on oil. Seems obvious those 10 entities will receive the lion’s share of sales income generated, prohibits competition in the most lucrative area of the business, and is certainly not what people normally perceive about free market capitalism so often praised. The people of Ohio, if legalization becomes the reality, should all have the opportunity to grow and sell as much product as people are willing to buy.

    • Yes Jerry, another swindle is what they’re up to. We’ll see if it works for them this time. You’d think we could spot ’em by the stench alone by now, wouldn’t you? Thanks yet again for a fine comment. – Linda

  6. I just wanted to say hello, Linda, and send my best wishes. 🙂 (I’m sure you wouldn’t find it surprising to hear that I can’t stand playing monopoly either…)

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Carol! I love what you’ve been posting, though I’m so far behind with everything I want to read with proper attention that it’s embarrassing. My caregiving job’s been crazy lately, and I’m also way off schedule with my own rants. But stay tuned, I haven’t stopped caring, I’m just swamped and fighting my old, creaky computer and software.
      Stay strong, and I hope you have a good winter … here in Ohio it’s supposed to be 68 degrees tomorrow, but how long can it last? I did just get new mittens, so MAYBE I won’t need them much? But my snow boots are falling apart, so wish me luck also! Again, your kindness and support mean a great deal to me, thank you. – Linda

      • I look forward to your new rants – but it’s wise to just take for yourself, too.

        I can relate to the old boots. The gorilla tape I’ve used on mine just doesn’t seem to do the trick. It keeps coming off, not that I need them much yet. But I think snow is on the way this weekend.

        I just wanted to let you know that I miss your posts and appreciate your friendship 🙂

        • Carol, The appreciation is most emphatically mutual! I haven’t taped my bboots yet, but they’re beyond ready for it. I found some I like, but they’re backordered till the end of February, when I hope winter will start tapering off anyway! Maybe next year. Or … I’ll just hole up and … write more. Some folks might construe that as a threat, but what do they know?
          Take care, and enjoy planning next year’s garden, that gets me through the misery of winter as much as anything does. – Linda

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