Cleveland Plain Dealer | Jackie Borchardt
COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio House panel gave initial approval Tuesday to a constitutional amendment that would prevent monopolies from being written in the state constitution and block ResponsibleOhio’s plan to legalize marijuana this fall.
House Joint Resolution 4 cleared the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee and now heads to a full House vote as soon as Thursday. The resolution needs to pass with two-thirds of the vote of both chambers to appear on the November ballot.
The proposed amendment specifically prohibits “a monopoly or a special interest, privilege, benefit, right, or license of a commercial economic nature.” The Ohio attorney general would decide whether a proposed amendment violates the anti-monopoly language in addition to verifying the summary that appears on petitions is a fair and truthful representation of the proposed amendment.
Lawmakers were urged by state Auditor Dave Yost to support the measure.
“The marijuana cartel is saying to the public, ‘You get it our way, or you don’t get it at all. Take it or leave it,'” Yost said. “By sending this amendment to the voters, you are empowering the voters to say whether or not they approve of a constitutional amendment that makes the powerful few even richer, and more powerful.”