Three major initiatives working toward marijuana decriminalization are expected to have a big impact this year in the great state of Ohio; all three are still facing uphill battles to get MMJ reform through the Ohio state legislature and the contents of three bills illustrate the heart of the marijuana debate the battle between those who seek to decriminalize marijuana as a legal narcotic and those who seek to decriminalize it on the basis of a medication for patients.
Two of the initiatives are being spearheaded by the retiring liberal democrat Bob Hagan, a ranking member from Ohio’s 58th district and a classic labor Democrat politician with strong connections from Youngstown and northeastern Ohio’s Mike Foley, another Democrat with strong labor relationships. Ohio’s legalization initiative is being pushed by Keith Stroup’s NORML and the Marijuana Mafia’s Ohio front group, the Ohio Rights Group or ORG who are seeking state legalization of marijuana in Ohio along with monopolization of marijuana licenses as they have sought in so many other states. Luckily the Marijuana Mafia’s plans have been slow to action partially as ORG is significantly behind in collecting enough signatures to make the ballot by July.
First we will review ORG’s legalization bill which is the most egregious of the three. ORG’s diabolical Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment or “OCRA” desires to establish an unaccountable licensing board that controls the states medical marijuana industry under Colorado style rules.
- Creates an Ohio Commission of Cannabis Control which supports and upholds the rights of eligible residents; licenses, regulates and controls Cannabis for therapeutic use in Ohio; serves the public interest; and ensures statewide compliance with this Amendment.
- Establishes a nine-member Board of the Ohio Commission of Cannabis Control consisting of two eligible residents who are Ohio voters, two Ohio farmers, a licensed medical practitioner, a licensed mental health professional, a law enforcement officer, a representative of the ODA and a representative the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC). No more than four members shall be of the same political party. Initial appointments of the two Ohio voters, the two Ohio farmers, the medical practitioner and the mental health professional shall be selected by the Committee to Represent the Petitioners for this Amendment.
- Gives Commissioners the authority to make regulations, recommendations or findings as they pertain to Cannabis for therapeutic use in accordance with this Amendment and the Ohio Administrative Procedure Act. Requires the Commission to license or authorize other personnel to regulate the therapeutic and industrial use of Cannabis within the State.
- Authorizes the Commission to delegate the enactment and amendment of regulations, recommendations or findings pertaining to Cannabis for industrial use to the ODA, which shall implement them according to the same time table as the Commission.
- Allows the Commission to set fees, and issue licenses, permits and fines for therapeutic Cannabis use, and for the ODA to set fees, and issue licenses, permits and fines for industrial Cannabis use.
This entire bill is designed to create a legalization cabal type structure for medical marijuana throughout the state of Ohio, and initial appointments to this unaccountable board according to this law are to be chosen by these people.
COMMITTEE TO REPRESENT THE PETITIONERS
The following people are designated as the committee to represent the petitioners in all matters relating to the petition or its circulation.
Robert Fitrakis, Esq.
Mary Jane Borden
Don E Wirtshafter, Esq.
Despite ORG’s overall political failures the Marijuana Mafia isn’t without an ace up its sleeve. George Soros’ Marijauna Policy Project has backed both of Hagen’s bills HB 153 and HJR 6; the latter, House Joint Resolution 6, being the focus of MPP’s support as it provides for an amendment to HB 153 to make marijuana regulated and taxed like alcohol but also provides the power of cities to ban or limit dispensaries, this behaves like a California style stealth monopolization provision for the HB 153 medical marijuana bill.
My case in point, let’s look at medical HB 153; the legislation that decriminalizes marihuana as a medicine and sets medical regulations under the Ohio Department of Health. Many growers have been concerned with the concept of regulatory capture serving the needs of the Marijuana Mafia, seeing the impact of competition rigging in medical states like California. There are provisions in HB 153 designed to prevent regulatory capture of the Ohio Health Department by such entities as seen below.
Sec. 3728.13. The department of health shall issue a registry identification card to an applicant not later than five business days after approving the applicant’s application under section 3728.12 of the Revised Code. The registry identification card shall contain all of the following:
Sec. 3728.14. An application for an initial or renewed registry identification card shall be deemed a registry identification card on the twentieth day after the date the complete application was submitted to the department of health if all of the requirements for approval of the application have been met and the department does either of the following:
(A) Fails to approve or deny the application within the applicable time period specified in division (A) or (B) of section 3728.12 of the Revised Code;
(B) Fails to issue the registry identification card within the time period specified in section 3728.13 of the Revised Code.
Sec. 3728.15. If, at any time after the date that is one hundred forty days after the effective date of this section, the department of health is not accepting applications from qualifying patients for a registry identification card for any reason, including failure to adopt rules under section 3728.35 of the Revised Code, a written certification for the qualifying patient together with a notarized statement by the qualifying patient of all of the following shall be deemed a registry identification card for the qualifying patient:
Sec. 3728.16. If, at any time after the date that is one hundred forty days after the effective date of this section, the department of health is not accepting applications from primary caregivers for a registry identification card for any reason, including failure to adopt rules under section 3728.35 of the Revised Code, a notarized statement by the primary caregiver of all of the following shall be deemed a registry identification card for the primary caregiver.
These measures are very impressive, they keep competition open by compelling the Ohio Department of Health to recognize caregivers even if they fail to recognize the changes in policy; this circumvents many of the problems that occurred in California that resulted in fixed markets.
Marijuana Policy Project seeks to circumvent this by providing an amendment to the bill of which they have financially pressured Hagen to sponsor as well, which is House Joint Resolution 6 or HJR 6. Measures within HJR 6 contradicts HB 153 by trying to make marijuana regulated like alcohol and thus subject to high taxes that small and medium sized farmers can’t pay; they also seek to limit competition by allowing municipalities to circumvent the Department of Health’s regulatory authority.
|(5) A locality may enact ordinances or resolutions, not in conflict with this section or with rules adopted or legislation enacted pursuant to this section, governing the time, place, manner, and number of marijuana establishment operations; establishing procedures for the issuance, suspension, and revocation of a license issued by the locality in accordance with division (E)(7) or (8) of this section; establishing a schedule of annual operating, licensing, and application fees for marijuana establishments, provided that the application fee shall only be due if an application is submitted to a locality in accordancewith division (E)(8) of this section, and a licensing fee shall only be due if a license is issued by a locality in accordance with division (E)(7) or (8) of this section; and establishing civil penalties for a violation of an ordinance or resolution governing the time, place, and manner of a marijuana establishment that may operate in the locality. A locality may prohibit the operation of marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana productmanufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities, or retail marijuana stores through the enactment of an ordinance or resolution or through an initiated measure; provided that anyinitiated measure to prohibit the operation of marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana product manufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities, or retail marijuana stores must appear on a general election ballot during an even-numbered year.|
|(c) Issue an annual license to the applicant between forty-five and ninety days after receipt of an application unless the department finds the applicant is not in compliance with rules adopted pursuant to division (E)(1) of this section or the department is notified by the relevant locality that the applicant is not in compliance with ordinances and resolutions made pursuant to division (E)(5) of this section and in effect at the time of application, provided, that if a locality has enacted a numerical limit on the number of marijuana establishments and the number of applicants that seek licenses exceeds that limit, the department shall solicit and consider input from the locality as to the locality’s preference or preferences for licensure;|
These clauses in HJR 6 allow municipalities to set up marijuana rackets under MPP and the Marijuana Mafia’s guidance, fixing and limiting competition to Marijuana Mafia controlled dispensaries much like they have done throughout California and Colorado. The Marijuana Mafia will bribe the local municipalities to fix who may open a marijuana dispensary in their locality, fix marijuana at very high prices, reduce patient care and push other illegal remedies, and allow entry by the black market.
In California, thanks to similar legislation to HJR 6, municipalities working with Marijuana Mafia organizations like MPP and NORML have issued municipal ‘bans’ on marijuana dispensaries shutting out competition and medical entrepreneurship, limiting dispensaries to privileged members of the Marijuana Mafia.
With all of these being said it’s very apparent that Ohio needs to say YES to HB 153 and NO to HJR 6, because HB 153 is bar none one of the best medical marihuana bills conceived in the country; it provides excellent protections for patients, caregivers, doctors and growers and allows marijuana to be used as a medicine, dispensed by medical caregivers for qualified patients who need it. HB 153 provides for open non-profit pharmaceutical competition that is regulated by an authoritative regulatory body, the Ohio Department of Health, and HB 153 provides for responses to any possible regulatory capture or government corruption contingencies that have occurred in the other medical marijuana states thanks to the Marijuana Mafia.
HB 153 also maintains marijuana as a medicine and does not subject it to anti-competitive alcohol laws. Alcohol laws subject growers to unnecessary costs which are enumerated in HJR 6 and provide for taxes that when applied to medical marijuana are illegal under federal law since marijuana is scheduled as a medication.
Looks like Ohio has a true Wild West mess on its hands, but it has a pathway to medical marihuana victory. Ohioans need to tell the Marijuana Mafia to Get Their Greedy Hands Off Of Our Medicine, Say NO to “OCRA” (how lame), Say NO to George Soro’s HJR 6 and SAY YES TO MEDICAL BY TELLING YOUR STATE CONGRESSMAN YES TO HB 153.
–The Green Chazzan