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The Surprising State That Could Be The Next To Legalize Marijuana


ohio marijuana medical marijuana legalizationBy Phillip Smith

It’s looking more and more likely that voters in a key battleground state will be voting on marijuana legalization in November, and recent polling suggests it could win. That’s this November, not November 2016.

The state is Ohio, where a controversial pot legalization initiative is already well on the way to qualifying for the ballot, and its backers—or should we say investors?–have the cash on hand to make sure it does.

There are pot legalization bills pending in any number of states, and early on, there were hopes this would be the year a state legislature would get around to legalizing it. New England states such as Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont looked like the best bets, but it now doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen.

And 2016 promises to see a wave of legalization initiatives—think Arizona, California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts, for starters, with Arkansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio also likely to see serious efforts emerge.

But that’s next year. The group ResponsibleOhio is well on the way to putting the issue before Buckeye State voters this year. They’ve already had their proposed constitutional amendment approved for signature gathering and, thanks to paid signature-gatherers, are cruising toward qualifying for the ballot.

To qualify in Ohio, initiatives need 305,000 valid voter signatures; ResponsibleOhio collected 180,000 raw signatures in its first three weeks and still has more than two months to gather the rest. And the campaign is still expanding.

Veteran initiative watchers will tell you campaigns want a cushion of excess signatures to account for ones that are thrown out, maybe 25% to 30% above the requirement at a bare minimum. In Ohio this year, that would be 400-450,000 raw signatures. The campaign says they are aiming for 700,000.

Given the progress so far, and the organization and money behind it (see below), ResponsibleOhio’s legalization initiative looks like it will qualify for the ballot.

A New Legalization Model

This is not legalization like we’ve seen anywhere else. Yes, it allows adults 21 and over to grow and possess limited amounts of marijuana and yes, it calls for a system of regulated and taxed marijuana production and sales. And it even has provisions for medical marijuana.

But under ResponsibleOhio’s initiative, commercial marijuana production can only take place at 10 sites in the state, and those sites have already been allocated to 10 sets of investors, who have already kicked in $1.7 million for the campaign so far and who are prepared to spend up to $20 million convincing the public to vote for it.

The investors include a number of Ohio business interest—real estate developers, venture capital firms, philanthropists, with nary a Cheech or a Chong among them—but also some home state big names that could sway public opinion. These include NBA legend Oscar “Big O” Robertson, Cincinnati-based fashion designer Nanette Lepore, and former Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns defensive end Frostee Rucker (now with the Arizona Cardinals).

In return for their hoped-for voter-granted monopoly, the investor groups would pay a $100,000 fee and a 15% tax on their gross revenues, as well as other commercial fees. Critics have charged that the plan freezes out all but the initial investor groups, but ResponsibleOhio counters that there will be plenty of commercial opportunities in making and selling marijuana products.

The ResponsibleOhio plan has raised a lot of hackles among movement veterans such as NORML founder Keith Stroup, who voices widely-held worries about the impact of big money in the movement and Ohio activists, some of whom have their own initiative plans, but they may not matter as much as suburban Columbus soccer moms when it comes to election day.

And while this written-in monopoly may seem strange to many, it’s not going to seem that strange to Ohio voters. In 2009, they legalized gambling by approving a constitutional amendment that specified sites for four casinos owned by the companies backing the amendment.

Can It Win?

Initiatives need to have money, momentum, and votes to win.

ResponsibleOhio looks to have deep enough pockets to put on a full-scale, multi-million dollar advertising campaign. Estimates are that to win in California next year, legalizers will have to spend $10 million or so in advertising, but ResponsibleOhio is talking about spending up to $20 million in a much smaller media market, and it doesn’t have to go begging to donors.

The momentum is there. The entire country is riding a wave of increasing support for marijuana legalization, and Ohio is no exception. A Quinnipiac University poll last month had support at 53% (it also had narrow majorities for legalization in swing states Florida and Pennsylvania), up two points from the same poll a year earlier.

The conventional wisdom is that initiatives should be polling 60% or more at the beginning of the campaign because they are bound to lose some support in the face of organized opposition. But when it comes to marijuana, these hardly seem like conventional times. National polls show an upward trend, and Ohio polls show an upward trend. Whether it can win at the polls in an off-off-year election remains to be seen (the casino initiative did), but it certainly looks like it’s going to be on the ballot, and it’s got a very good shot on Election Day.

Ohio isn’t the West Coast or New England. It’s a mid-sized Midwest swing state critical in presidential politics. If Ohio legalizes it this year, the politics of pot is going to get very, very interesting next year.

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About Author

Johnny Green


  1. It is not easy to believe that weed is still illegal in most places in 21st century America, and that nationally only the slimmest majority, ~51% of the citezenry, favor legalization. It seems like an issue that is much less problematic than gay marriage, which is now the law of the land. Oh well. Step by step…

  2. @Paul Rizik,
    THe government tried to prohibit the sale of alcohol as well. The prohibitions failed; it swelled the black market to such a degree organized crime was gaining too much power and momentum. People just didn’t accept that law. For the government, it’s not a matter of hypocrisy – it’s a matter of concession. Today there is also a big black market for marijuana. Alot of the revenue is funding (and actually creating) crime. The governments chief concern is not with what the people WANT. Their wants are unlimited. Its chief concern is in keeping society from falling apart. When the people cry out, at a certain point, the government has to give in despite themselves. So, don’t blame the government. Look to all the social problems we have today. It would be better if we could smoke marijuana responsibly, if we didn’t have criminals, and so on. But, the government has the wellbeing of society as a whole in mind, and the ballot will pass once the thresholds of social interest swing in favor of marijuana. There is money involved, and I’m sure there’s some corruption too, but it is an issue on the threshold right now… it’s not a clear cut ‘sheeple obeying the government’ thing. Not for all of us, anyway. Remember, when you buy marijuana from a dealer you are putting money into the black market and undermining society in a variety of ways..

  3. i will also add i hate hypocrites… i was at my families home when i was gonna smoke a J with 2 of them and younger cousin walked in an older member asked if i was gonna smoke infront of cousin and stated how he wouldn’t cause cannabis is BAD! i smoked elsewhere but thought about it and as he questioned my actions he was puffing cig after cig and drinking moonshine. i thought for a moment and concluded he is a hypocrite. cigs kill millions and alcohol kills millions and no one was worried to influence the boy. so government says ok so its ok but cannabis which is basically harmless government says is bad so the simple minded sheep dont think before they follow government lead and cry foul. dont be a follower be a leader and use your own brain. read the facts istead of spreading pointless propaganda .

  4. weeks later i come back to read comments and im shocked… people for it and against it talking about business and benfit…. everyone still missing true point and only thing that matters…. people are still dying… its the 1st and likely only option asap for people who need it…. anyone to impede RO should feel guilty for not allowing the sick and elderly some humane option from a simple plant compared to big governments solution today to use chemotherapy and/or radiation. 1/3 men will die from prostate cancer and 1/3 woman will die from breast cancer, when people get that its for everyone young and old healthy and dying. cannabis is harmless until activated. DECARBOXILATION had to happen before cannabis is psychoactive. many believe if a poor helpless child were to find some cannabis and eat it the child would have thc active in blood but without being activated thc would still be thc-a which ISNT psychoactive. i cant believe as people die all people care about is how to make it better for business or better for the mom and pop shop not getting a fair shot at the $. i want people to want a fair shot at saving the dying and suffering. you know do something for the good of it not nothing to do with this capitalist system … people wont care for anything without some benfit makes me sick!

  5. Scott Dahlstrom on

    They’ll need to get more. I believe typically as much as 1/3 of the signatures get thrown out by the Secretary of State. In addition, the total number of signatures is only half of the requirement. They have to have signatures from at least 44 counties that represent 5% of the voter turnout in each county from the last gubernatorial election.

    In other words, let’s say for example that 10,000 people voted in Clark County in the 2014 election. In order for Clark County to be counted as one of the 44 counties where the signature threshold is met, RO would have to turn in at least 500 signatures from Clark County registered voters.

    They’re not quite there yet, but it is a very impressive showing so far. I have no doubt that they’ll make it to the ballot this year.

  6. As of last Friday, May 8th, ResponsibleOhio had gathered 320,000 petition signatures.

    That’s 15,000 more than the minimum number required, and there are still seven weeks to go!

    Ohio Voter, and the other shills from “competing” proposals (there’s not really a competition…) don’t want to admit that this group, RO, has finally done what none of the other groups have been able to do in more than five years (in some cases) of amateur-hour trying.

    They got the issue on a November ballot.

    Every registered voter in Ohio will now have the opportunity to legalize cannabis on November 3rd, specifically because ten SEPARATE Corporations put up 2 million dollars each to get the issue on the ballot.

    Some people think that makes the more than 50 individuals who have invested in one of the ten grow-site management companies greedy. I say it makes them pretty bold risk takers who deserve to be rewarded during the few gold-rush years before federal legalization changes the rules for every state.

  7. Scott Rellim on

    We should not need a permit or license to grow four plants. That’s not what “legal” is. Ten people will get mega rich off this, and this plan is not good for Ohio. We need to shoot this down.

  8. this is untrue. when a moratorium is placed on new-comers to a specific business, (marijuana bussiness, for example in Denver) which happens all the time in many different industries., that in itself, creates, a legal, government created, monopoly

  9. ted mishler on

    is posting prohibited now? wheres my post?
    i saw a star trek episode spoke of the constitution of the usa and how important that all are included as we the people

    pity is it not honoured, yet money is, the person with the largest bankroll might not be the best person to count on you know

  10. not much to say now Yosemite? Stop sucking ResponsibleOhio’s flaccid c*ck and get behind an initiative that doesnt bend over the average citizen or medical patient


  11. Notice this PUSSY Yosemite pisses down his leg when confronted with the facts!

  12. HERE HERE! Yosemite is a dirty asshole and full of shit!

    it’s no secret that Yosemite intends to benefit financially from the ResponsibleOhio initiative as you can find him TROLLING in damn near every comment section on Ohio Legalization; spreading misinfo! Arguing semantics of Monopoly and arguing Hemp pollen contamination, when Air Filtration Systems prove he is WRONG WRONG WRONG.

    RO Does NOT allow any Patient Caretaker relationships!

    RO requires citizen PAY and REGISTER with the state to grow 4 measly plants to A HOUSEHOLD, not per person.

    RO’s independent commission is an unecessary expansion of Govt, and promotes collusion and corruption..

    Rich or Poor; I dont care who is behind any of the initiatives, but I do care what each initiative stands for. RO is UNAMERICAN

    Currently LegalizeOhio2016.org is Ohio’s ONLY free market approach and will get my vote!

  13. Bugz
    I have not read the proposed legislation do I can not comment on your reply. However, would say that the scenario you state sites not constitute a monopolistic situation.

  14. Incorrect…the government can grant monopolies or control them as ohio state did with state ran liquor stores after prohibition. Businesses can not operate as oligopolies or monopolies to hamper competition. That is why having an initial number of property locations with different businesses at each and a commission w authority to add more isbt close to a monopoly or even yet acting as an oligopoly. Add to that 1100 retail licenses and more based on population..caregiver, dispensary, industrial licenses w homegrowing ability and this is a good start to an entire industry that ohio can control at every level. Better than waiting for state ran pot stores as w liquor.

  15. If beginning with a certain number of property locations with local investors, in which you can participate in, and an indepen
    dent and separate commission created with authority to add more isnt fair then how would u propose to provide licenses to commercial growers? Anyone can homegrow already in this amendment. Would u auction off the licenses? What would u propose to distribute commercial licenses while allowing for a future of hemp farming in and ag state which would potentially conflict w pollen if not zoned somehow?

  16. This has to be the most corrupt system I have ever heard of being enunciated by a state legislature.

  17. newageblues on

    This isn’t a court of law, this is public opinion, which is and should be a different matter. If it looks like a legal cartel, and appears to be motivated by the desire to make money, our short term ally could very likely be our long term enemy. If they are motivated by financial self-interest, they are going to want the price high, no competition in growing, and no increase in the measly 4 plant limit.
    I need to know more about the motives of the select group of 10. But if they had the interest of users at heart, I don’t think they would have had to be pressured to let users grow those 4 plants.

  18. I am a free market, free enterprise, economic freedom proponent. You evidently do not understand that. Sorry, but I did stipulate that people should be able to enter with theiOWN investments at risk. It’s a level playing field and what this initiative is espousing is not a level playing field. It has very dangerous long term implications that your incapacity to see does not change.

    Whatever, man. I am glad I am not in Ohio so that, as one who espouses legalization for a myriad of issues, I dont have to find myself engaged in fighting against legalization of a cartel system.

    Frankly, I am sick and tired of listening to your mischaracterizations of my economic principles, and your false and self-aggrandizing faulty “liberty” economics model in support of this particular initiative.

    Push this and you will be in court for years without any benefit to those who need cannabis for their well being.

  19. Ive been saying for 20+ years that it should be legal here in the buckeye state! But on the flip side of that I hate the idea that a small time grower such as myself will be shoved out of that game from the get go!! I grow verrryyy good meds and would love to make it my lifes work & it would flourish! I do not sell my meds. I simply do it for myself & my wife. This monopoly style will promote three things right off. 1: lack of quality. 2: serious price gouging. 3: it will still fuel the underground market.
    Legalization is greeeeaaatttt! But ohio…..lets make it fair to the average person!

  20. I know this Maine citizen will be voting for legalization whenever it is put on the ballot.

  21. newageblues on

    You’re more optimistic than me about NY, PA and IL legalizing soon. None of those states has an initiative process and I don’t expect shit from their legislatures, or from uber alcohol supremacist bigot Cuomo. I wouldn’t be surprised if Missouri and Arkansas, which do have a citizen initiative process, legalize before these 3 states.

  22. I was born and raised in Ohio, thus my interest…..we legalized MMJ here in Hawaii 15 years ago and just passed a plan to open dispensaries this week….talk about a delayed reaction, at least Ohioans will have an option besides growing or black market…..though the black market strains here are pretty good and the price is not too bad.
    You make valid points, but like any law, it can be amended later, on this one it’s best to let the door open and go from there I think.

  23. hey the government built this corrupt system and lied to us for over 70 years now about hemp and cannabis. id be happy to see it fail. its not like this “perfect system” hasn’t been hacked before. corporations get to do what they please and government gets to squeeze every last bit of liberty out of the people while under the scam of less liberty and more protection. I don’t need protection from whatever I want to ingest.

    I say the people should put the squeeze on corps and government for the years of mistakes and the people who all died in vain to people still wanting to drag there feet and slow everything down.

    dreen said, “Control, consolidation and centralization are NOT conducive to life. If you want truly positive outcomes… So I’d say, ” change your agenda so it wasn’t so tightly aligned with government corporations. I want less government control, consolidation and centralization over citizens. I bet responsible ohio cartels don’t care to try and remove my liberties. but when they chose to help citizens you and the corporate government want to do what government does best CONTROL CONSOLIDATE AND KILL any hope for a better tomorrow now instead of tomorrow afew years from now.
    so long story short 70 something years of people dying and suffering, and the system is for the people but more important then who its “trying” to “protect”?
    the current system is for self preserveration not for the citizens. I want clean air clean water clean food healthy family and corporate government doesn’t.

  24. Yosemite Hill on

    If having a child with a disease that could be potentially cured is all in, then consider me all in. My motives do not need to be questioned and are private. I don’t have the ability to sit back and pontificate that if everyone can’t have an MJ farm, then ten businesses attempting to open up an entire industry and an independent elected authority to add more property locations is just a cartel; so it is moral to opt in keeping the current monopoly with the criminal justice system. I’m sorry you and every individual can’t have acreages of MJ. The idea of capitalism is not that we are all equal, but that the opportunity exists for entry in the market and free forces are allowed to play out. If you want an MJ farm so bad or think others should all have MJ farms then any one person is free to negotiate with a property owner, grow your own via the home growing provisions, or sway the Control Commission that more property locations should be added and buy in to it, under the explicit authority provided by the amendment. As a matter of fact, it is known you can buy in now and negotiate a lease or deal among the local businesses that already have. That is within your free market right. Believing capitalism is a certain ideal for everyone is the premise of marxism. Market entry makes a market free not that everyone can or can’t enter, or that everyone should be equal; this is socialism. Everyone does not deserve the same grade, nor a marijuana farm, but those who have the ability and means can do it can.

    In addition, businesses every year in Ohio are investigated and prosecuted for possible collusion and price fixing (see the Ohio AG website for cases…so indicating what might be (a cartel — “the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition” ), which is illegal already, and assuming ten initial business will undoubtedly be breaking the law is not an excuse, but a play on fear, of which you could say about any business if that is the case. We live in a country where entities are innocent until proven guilty.

  25. Those ten locations are already owned by the same consortium, so it is already a monopoly just waiting for the green light. And in my comment I specifically stated that medical patients often need higher doses and not necessarily for smoking. Some patients for example require concentrates such as Simpson’s oil or green dragon tincture and these require more input material. Other patients juice fresh cuttings and again these patients could be going through significant amounts of plant material. Also, if you do have four mature plants and you harvest them, this will put you over the 8oz limit. Most likely you will harvest a plant and have almost a pound, then use it up until you have almost none left, before harvesting the next plant and having over a half a pound again. The whole system of four-plant and 8 oz limit is to discourage home growing to push cannabis patients and recreational aficionados into buying from the monopoly.

    There are other cannabis measures making their way onto the ballot; a more reasonable version just recently won preliminary approval. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office says it certified Thursday that the
    group Better for Ohio provided a fair and truthful summary of their
    proposal and had 1,000 required signatures for its petition. It still will have to be evaluated by the Ohio Ballot Board and meet a broader
    signature-collection requirement to appear on the ballot but it is a much better proposal than the one receiving so much attention here. I would encourage pro-cannabis activists who also support freedom to look at this other measure and consider supporting that one instead. It is true that is not as well financed but that is because its backers do not have the promise of a monopoly to spur them to fork over $millions as is the case with ResponsibleOhio.

  26. Yosemite Hill on

    If having a child with a disease that could be cured is all in, then consider me all in. My personal motives shouldn’t be the issue. I don’t have the luxury to sit back and pontificate that if every person can’t have an MJ farm, then ten businesses attempting to open up an entire industry and independent elected authority to add more afterwards is just a cartel, and thus it is morally responsible to opt to keep the current monopoly with the criminal justice system in prohibition. Your idealism disgust me because you think about yourself, and your fears only, and under the guise of altruism and pride that you are right in your knowledge. In other words, If it is not perfect then the good should suffer. This is the root of marxism, not free market capitalism where entry and opportunity is possible rather than a given right. So forgive me for being a little passionate and saying “you seem a socialist” if you are sensitive to that. I have other people to think about passed my ideal of what capitalism and a free markest should be according to my own idea of that. If you want a commercial grow for yourself so bad go over and negotiate with property owners, grow your own with home growing in the amendment, or god forbid discuss the demand for further property locations with the Commission to add more and buy in as the next breaking bad hero. The very possibility you can and local businesses have is a free market, not that you are not equal and so may not be able to. Perhaps you’d rather join a union and have them do it for you.

    First, businesses every year in Ohio are investigated, if not prosecuted, for possible collusion and price fixing (check out the Ohio AG website)…so name calling that this might be (a cartel — “the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition” as you define) and ASSUMING ten initial businesses will undoubtedly be breaking the law with price fixing and collusion as a cartel is no excuse for socialism or anarchy without regulation; rather it is merely a play on fear, of which you could say about any business as potentially being a cartel with that rationale. We live in a country where entities are innocent until proven guilty.

    Second, of course i don’t advocate not growing hemp, but, as with Oregon now proposing appellate zoning, the idea of proposing zoned locations or property designations is a ‘viable’ preventative solution. Mandating different maturation times, as you suggested earlier would also be a potential solution since cannabis is an indeterminate; however, that solution would also need to consider home growers at random locations. Additionally, additional indoor filtering systems would still be an expense for any genetic strain even growing indoors. Another alternative, as with the appellate zoning proposal, is telling certain regions not to grow medical and others to grow hemp. I don’t have the answer to this issue, but these are at least potential solutions already being discussed.

  27. I do understand
    that what is being proposed here is an improvement in that cannabis
    won’t be illegal any longer, but it is terrifically unwise to change the
    constitution and ensconce a cartel into the structure. Actually, it
    might leave this entire thing open to legal action because it is NOT
    free market economics and it is unfair trade practices and establishes
    in the constitution an anti-trust situation. So if y’all pass this, it
    may be stopped in court. Then what? 5 years to determine the outcome of
    this initiative you are promoting. Meanwhile, you would be running under
    no access until the outcome would be determined.

    And I do know people who are ill and or dying that would likely benefit from cannabis and would be criminals if they used it. It makes me quite angry as it is flatly inhumane.

    What I am saying is that the model being employed in this initiative is the exact same model that brought about prohibition of cannabis. We cannot get different positive results by following the same model that put us in this position. Control, consolidation and centralization are NOT conducive to life. If you want truly positive outcomes, you need to design things so they will be positive over time.

  28. So you call me a socialist when I espouse non-corporate controlled economic freedom? Wow. Not conducive to serious conversation. I’m about as far from a socialist as one can get. What I espouse is the level playing field. Where everyone can try and fail with their own investments at risk and not getting governments or boards in the position of picking winners and losers. And I detest subsidies as well, fyi.

    Here is the dictionary definition of cartel:




    noun: cartel; plural noun: cartels

    an association of manufacturers or suppliers with the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition.”the Colombian drug cartels”


    a coalition or cooperative arrangement between political parties intended to promote a mutual interest.

    That is what 10 entities providing all the retail product- by design and intent- in this initiative is.

    As to the pollination issue you address, are you proposing that people should not grow hemp? Or that the only people who might be capable of producing either medical or recreational cannabis must be in controlled environment (indoor) agriculture?

    As to pollination issues, here is pretty sound article on the issue. As I stated previously, maturation times are very important in keeping seed true, and this article mentions that:


    I know you are “all in” for this initiative, but it has some issues and it is fair to discuss them. No need to be rude about it.

    I do understand that people are invested, both financially and emotionally, in this effort you are promoting. I don’t like the business model you are espousing because it is a cartel. And it isn’t because I am a socialist. It’s because I am NOT fascist, and NOT socialist.

  29. Paul RIZIK on


    would you say economic and agricultural models are more important than life? cause im not sure get the scope or scale of its medical uses. im today thousands died. but you would rather say hold out for better. its obvious your not dying or is close to anyone dying soon. so i say holding out for anything 1 minute longer then needed to offset the #s dying per day is a crime to say the least. i say anyone who is willing to slow down or impede any action to do so should be able to opt out of the system if chosen but once you get cancer or an auto – immune you never are allowed my herbal natural medication. you must use current government systems like chemo an radiation and fated a 6 month tops life span if it dont work. its crazy this happens to children daily. so chose new to us, 3000 year medication or radiation ? nothing else in this government system is remotely perfect an now we want to debate on how and when we can really start to save lives. what BS!

    know it not perfect so what? wait next year or more, the people who would have otherwise died will thank you.

    medically who needs more then 8 ounces at a time anyway??? the worst that i know of is cancer needing around a pound . so rick simpson oil made 2 times and consumed properly in 90 days show to help and save people. and recreationally for me thats almost a year supply. as a preventative maybe 4-5 month supply.

    google ,” ENDOCANNBINOID SYSTEM ” after a good read google endocannbinoid system deficiencies

  30. newageblues on

    It’s definitely a lot better than the current deal, but the worry is that by enshrining it in the state constitution, and creating a big for profit grow industry that won’t want to give up their cartel monopoly and will spend big to protect that, it might be too difficult to make improvements later on. Being allowed to grow 4 plants would be a wonderful improvement from the current situation, but it will seem like a burdensome tyrannical limitation soon enough. And the fact that the sponsors of this had to be pressured to include that 4 plant allowance doesn’t do jack to give me confidence in their motives.
    But I’m still learning many of the details about this…

    The most compelling reason to me for voting for it is the people who really need MMJ, now.

  31. newageblues on

    Thanks for that info! Wonder what the actual cost of production is. Take out 2 digits from that retail price?

  32. No doubt, there is advantage from every state legalizing. I understand it is a very difficult issue. The odds look pretty good at Nevada and California in 2016 and possibly even AZ. We could also see a state in New England, e.g. Maine, Massachusetts, or Vermont legalize, even though no state legislature has had the courage to do it, regardless of how popular it is. But I still believe there is no reason today to offer bad laws that will either be defeated at the polls or will cause havoc in the industry. Just look at how much problem there is in implementation Washington compared with Colorado. A truly bad law like in OH could mean years of problems.
    NY will definitely not legalize in the next few years – there is no ballot initiatives and the Governor and State legislatures have not moved in any productive way. IL and PA are in a similar situation to NY. They can’t even get a real medical bill passed (meaning any way to procure cannabis) and there are no ballot amendments there.

  33. Yosemite Hill on

    Thank you for the response Dreen. However, you are incorrect that hemp pollen does not destroy the genetic strains of THC marijuana. After two seasons, nearly all the marijuana bred seed is turned to hemp seed. The very fact that we have hundreds of different varieties or hybrids of the four main species of cannabis today was from genetic breeding (not GMO, which is a genetic engineering term, not a classic breeding technique by cross pollination).

    You propose that RO is a cartel, but do not explain how or why this is a compromise, nor why it would be better to advocate as a potential criminal for a criminal substance versus advocating as a legal person advocating for your own business for a legal substance. Where is the compromise? That everyone and their neighbor can’t get up and grow 1000s of marijuana plants and sell them. This can’t be done now with liquor or home brewing, and even with this proposal you can grow at home and don’t have to buy from any of the ten different businesses operating at ten different property locations. Perhaps waiting for the state to run it like state run liquor stores would be better since you seem a socialist that wants something for everyone without knowing about what you are talking about. Never mind if one of your children needs on-going pain treatment someday or a treatment for a disease that could either be treated from a nonlethal, but illegal herb over the current lethal addictive Rxs.

  34. Yosemite Hill on

    How much weed do you smoke for 8 oz and 4 mature plants at any one time to not be enough? Is zero plants and zero better? Explain how ten different businesses at ten different property locations for the ‘commercial’ growing portion of an entire new industry is a monopoly? Explain what would be better than also creating an independent and separate Control Commission for regulation and the explicit authority to add additional property locations? Explain how voting for ZERO plants and Zero ounces or being labeled a criminal is better? Explain where you will be getting the money to do better for your better plan and also how a vote for no is NOT supporting the following status quo of the prison industrial complex.

  35. I am sorry but I don’t find your arguments compelling. Businesses should not be entitled to a return or guaranteed a monopoly; it is just bad policy and it leads to abuse. And the 4 mature plants/8 oz flower/concentrates is not a lot. It would suffice for many recreational users but medical users sometimes need much much more. And for that they will have to go to the monopoly and get charged monopoly prices. I am very uncomfortable with the model and would prefer that Ohio choose a different path to freedom.

  36. If you extrapolate from their 2020 tax revenue and gross volume estimates, they have a retail price of about $5000/pound, or $320/ounce.
    That’s better than the current price in southern Ohio for true sensimilla, which is typically $400-$450/ounce.

    If – or rather when – the price drops even lower than that (Because the ten growers will, in fact, and by state regulation, be COMPETING with one another) the black market stands to lose considerable market share.

    We won’t completely eliminate the black market for cannabis until it becomes a commodity, available legally in all the United States.

  37. I would still vote for it, it is much better than the current limit of zero providers with criminal penalties for sale and significant possession.

  38. That’s not entirely accurate, but your point is taken. In the first few years following alcohol prohibition, ten legal breweries would have seemed a lot – and sure would have made a lot of people happy.

    It’s important to keep in mind that this is part of a larger process, and that this step by RO will be temporary, despite people trying to convince us that it will be carved in stone until the end of time.

    A new state constitutional amendment is much easier when proposed by a legislator, and that will certainly happen when Federal cannabis prohibition ends.
    It still has to pass on a ballot, but getting it there in the first place doesn’t take all that signature gathering effort.

  39. Please see above: there is light at the end of the tunnel, which is Federal legalization. That happens when most of the population lives under laws that are contrary to Federal law.
    Once federal legalization happens, some legislator in Ohio will propose a new constitutional amendment to nullify this one and bring Ohio law into line with Federal Law.

    The process of constitutional amendment is much simpler when it is introduced in the legislature, instead of in the populace.

  40. You made, but missed, the key point; the dominoes will start to fall BECAUSE of Ohio, if – or rather, when -this passes.
    Ohio is a political bellweather state, and the move from prohibition to full legalization, historic by any measure, will speed efforts by surrounding states in 2016, and will probably even have an impact on California’s legalization efforts.
    When Ohio legalizes later this year, you can bet that Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York – all states with recreational legalization efforts well underway – will follow suit the following year. Add to that California, Arizona, and a handful of other western states, and 2016 becomes the year when most of the US population lives where recreational cannabis is legal.
    ALL that starts with Ohio.

  41. I totally agree and if you think the rich is not getting in there some way to make money on you’re kidding just wait until the government wakes up and gets in on it then they want to cut everyone out of it. I’m also glad that where are investors out there who wants to back legalization it’s going to take money to make this red state go green!!!!!!

  42. I totally agree and if you think the rich is not getting in there some way to make money on you’re kidding just wait until the government wakes up and gets in on it then they want to cut everyone out of it. I’m also glad that where are investors out there who wants to back legalization it’s going to take money to make this red state go green!!!!!!
    When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

  43. When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
    Legalize it!!!!! IT’S A PLANT!!!!!!!

  44. There are no guarantees as far as pollen is concerned. That’s one of the huge issues with genetically modified organisms, as I am sure you know. Hemp and cannabis will indeed cross pollinate, but the idea that it will RUIN the crop is overblown. That’s all I’m saying. You have people growing heirloom tomato plants in the same garden with hybrid tomato plants, and the heirloom seed still will produce true. That is a matter of planting and maturity timing. What I see here is that the pollen drift is being looked to as an additional support for effectively sequestering the potential to access the market for more producers. It’s state control masked as removing state control of a natural plant that is bred for certain qualities.

    The problem with this initiative is that it employs the US Congress philosophy of compromise. For example, “We passed this because we got 80% of what we wanted. Sure the 20% that we didn’t want is going to affect the whole landscape, neuter the 80% we’re celebrating and be untenable down the road, but let’s call this a victory!”

    I may have been mistaken in presuming that there would be a need to discuss something so large as an amendment to the Constitution of a state and to point out potential problems. If the people bankrolling this effort are freedom advocates, they should support it without the cartel aspects. As it is, you’ll get the best government money can buy, which is the same model that brought about criminalization of cannabis to begin with…Just sayin’.

    And fwiw, I do not grow or ingest cannabis because it IS illegal
    and the consequences (at this point) vastly outweigh the benefits. I am a
    proponent for legalization with age restrictions, and if it were legal,
    I would use some myself. It just isn’t worth losing everything I have
    to take that chance for something I would only use occasionally. Now for the critically ill, it is criminal to prevent them from using a natural substance that is proven to be tremendously helpful for so many things. And don’t even get me going on the seizure laws, incarcerations, fines, penalties and ridiculous prosecutions…Those are a large part of why I am for legalization and not just decriminalization. Just trying to be forthright about my stance on this.

    Sometimes it’s better to wait to get it right instead of just jumping on something and saying it is fully positive because it’s better than it is now. Discussion of the merits and problems is tremendously important and should not be squashed because of differing viewpoints. It’s what let’s people make informed decisions about things. That is indeed fully positive.

    Thanks for the discourse.

  45. Yosemite Hill on

    Are you able to back up a better method to solving the “hemp pollen issue” other than saying it is negligible? A better method other than zoning and indoor growing for the medical side that is. I have yet to see where having male hemp pollen in large swathes outdoors isn’t a gigantic hurdle to medical / recreational crop destruction even indoors. So proposing large swathes or unregulated swathes of medical /recreation, as in Oregon would only generate coalitions against future hemp farming in proximity. Could you guarantee this would not be the case, when it is already happening in Canada and Oregon?

    And while you say this could be Feudal cannabis, what is wrong with locals giving a million dollars to fund an initiative that will benefit people medically, financially and personally while generating an entire new industry in which others could also enter into at all levels, including commercially if someone had the funding to do so on a commercial scale. I do not understand why we would grant new inventors of a patent system a return in all areas of an industry for a finite period of time within our constitution, but not expect a business giving to a good cause to also not expect at least a finite return.

    Over 1100 retail licenses will be issued by this amendment and additional licenses based on population growth, as well as additional manufacturing, dispensary and caregiver licenses being provided for a free market industry at all levels along, with home growing for growing at home with up to 4 mature plants and 8 oz flower / concentrates. Throwing this opportunity away would be a vote to keep the current monopoly with the criminal justice system; a vote to label sick people who choose a safer, non-lethal medicine over addictive lethal prescriptions as criminals; a vote for continuing support of private prisons traded on the stock market in Ohio, and voting yes for continuing prohibition. It would be opting to continue as an advocate as a potential criminal for a criminal substance, rather than as a free person with a potential business advocating for the rights of their legally recognized livelihood. I vote yes!

  46. I’m an independent ag advocate. While I support legalization efforts on virtually all efforts, and also understand the political process, the establishment of a board and the cartel/corporate control and consolidation being promoted in this particular initiative are exactly the type of crony capitalism that has caused major destruction of food freedom and diversity.
    The issue held up in the comments below about hemp pollen drift destroying or damaging medical and recreational cannabis is really a ruse. If diversity and multiple growers throughout the state is achieved, the monoculture (read death culture) and purported damages to crops will be negligible. Diversity and multiple strains are what you want in agriculture, both plant and animal.
    It’s also what you want for economic freedom and true market controls….meaning that those with the best product and access to market will produce the most beneficial products for the health of the environment and the people consuming the product… Ten growing sites and a board is the recipe for consolidation and control that destroys economic incentive and the ability of individuals to profit from their labor.
    SO, while I like the legalization aspects of this initiative, it is a very negative economic and agricultural model to follow, and a seriously negative economic control measure proposed to be ensconced in the Constitution. Feudal cannabis isn’t better than any other feudal system. Sorry to be negative about this.

  47. Malcolm Miraż on

    So R.O wants to amend the Ohio constitution to create legalized marijuana in the image of a real Cartel? Not say the loose affiliation of mountain growers and locals selling to distributors that made up the structure Mexican Marijuana Cartels. But like a real bonafide strict State regulated Cartel, modeled after what Ohio did with gambling casinos. Because marijuana is just as pernicious as throwing your money away on slots? I understand that the current model of Ohio State Highway Patrol and city cops destroying people’s lives over marijuana, seizing property and children from non-violent users and sellers is untenable. But it also feels a lot like coercion to use the carrot and the stick analogy. In addition it’s just more of the same b.s of the rich getting richer and the poor getting the heel. Which btw the poor are the people that are most affected by the negativity associated with prohibition. A rising tide should lift all boats Ohioans. Not just 10 corporations.

  48. CJ Heinemann on

    If you’re in Texas : CALL your representative and the members of the calendar committee and urge Rep. Hunter to schedule HB 2165 for a vote on the house floor so we can get it to the Senate.

    Rep. Hunter, Todd – District 32 – (512) 463-0672 – Chair
    Rep. Lucio III, Eddie – District 38 – (512) 463-0606 – Vice Chair
    Rep. Alonzo, Roberto R. – District 104 – (512) 463-0408
    Rep. Cook, Byron – District 8 – (512) 463-0730
    Rep. Davis, Sarah – District 134 – (512) 463-0389
    Rep. Geren, Charlie – District 99 – (512) 463-0610
    Rep. Giddings, Helen – District 109 – (512) 463-0953
    Rep. Harless, Patricia – District 126 – (512) 463-0496
    Rep. Huberty, Dan – District 127 – (512) 463-0520
    Rep. Johnson, Eric – District 100 – (512) 463-0586
    Rep. King, Ken – District 88 – (512) 463-0736
    Rep. Larson, Lyle – District 122 – (512) 463-0646
    Rep. Price, Four – District 87 – (512) 463-0470
    Rep. Riddle, Debbie – District 150 – (512) 463-0572
    Rep. Rodriguez, Eddie – District 51 – (512) 463-0674


  49. Since the measure decriminalizes and allows to grow your own or possess without worry of penalty it is good enough to pass, it’s better than the present state of things.

  50. the price , well no one can say but not for profit wholesale priceing on a sliding scale for medical users and flat tax of 15% and 5% for recreational use sounds good to me… all on responsibleohio.com

  51. newageblues on

    What price are they planning to sell their weed for? Is there any particular reason they can’t estimate their cost to grow and other expenses pretty accurately and go from there? If they are planning to keep prices at black market levels or anywhere close to black market levels, they need to be honest about that.

  52. Agreed it takes money to make this red state go green and RO HAS IT(@the moment)

  53. Scott Dahlstrom on

    A little history about the Ohio Constitutional Amendment Initiative Process: In the past 10 years, 11 amendments have made it to the ballot via the initiative process. Only 3 were passed. One was a raise in minimum wage in 2006, one was the casino amendment which RO is mimicking, and the 3rd was basically a right wing “We hate Obamacare” amendment. It’s pretty easy to see that at least 2 of these had significant financial backing, and raising the minimum wage is always popular.
    Getting something on the ballot in Ohio is no small task. The Ohio Rights Group (the medical only amendment) has been at it for years, and they’re only somewhere around the halfway mark, last I heard. None of the other proposed amendments, except RO, are anywhere close to that. ORG might make the ballot in 2016. Polling is heavily favored towards medical, so if they make the ballot, it should pass. Recreational doesn’t enjoy such a heavy favor in recent polling that it can’t be reversed by a well-funded anti-pot campaign. It’s going to take some serious financing to see recreational pull through.
    Looking at this realistically, it seems pretty clear that Ohio’s choices, when it comes to legalization, are as follows:

    1) Pass the Responsible Ohio proposal this year.
    2) Wait another year for the possibility of a medical only amendment to make the ballot.

    That’s it. Until wealthy backers get behind one of the other proposals, those are our choices.

  54. Cannabis has been used for over 10,000 years and not one single death has EVER been recorded.

    • It is not addictive and is actually far less addictive than caffeine

    • If legalized, far less more minors would be using Cannabis

    or weed would be sold in stores, valid ID must be given and the user must be at least 21 years of age. After customers start buying from these weed dispensaries, drug dealers would vanish and the ones that stick around would be most likely dealing hard drugs

    • Marijuana is not a gateway drug, it’s just the dealers persistently persuading their customers to try harder drugs because they know marijuana is not addictive. If they were to get them to at least try the harder drugs, they would get addicted and come back for more, giving the dealer never ending business

    • Marijuana is stronger and easier to get than ever before, albeit much more expensive than it should be. To smoke casually from the “black market”, it will run you $100/month. This is much more expensive than it needs to be. More expensive than my cell phone ($20/month from Tmobile), car insurance ($25/month from Insurance Panda), netflix ($10/month), and gym ($15/month from Planet fitness) COMBINED!!! Would you rather put money into the hands of violent gangs and drug dealers… or into taxes for schools, hospitals, public infrastructure, etc.???

    • Marijuana cures and prevents Alzheimer and Glaucoma, helps relieve stress, anxiety, depression, slows down tumor growth, and helps relieve pain for chemo/radiation therapy patients as well.

    • If legalized, marijuana can be taxed which would produce billions of dollars annually in profit which in turn would help our nation get out of debt. Cannabis farms can be set up as well, and growing and harvesting marijuana can become a profession thus lowering the unemployment rate.

    • Does not lead to or cause lung cancer

  55. Paul Rizik on

    I think everyone is missing the point. I don’t care if someone gets rich for saving the poor and dying. the government has failed us and the people for a long time now have failed us. so someone is finally going to do something about it, yes while lining there pockets. but, this gives people the fastest way to get it.
    everyone needs it. even if you never used cannabis before you have cannabinoids inside of you that couldn’t remove. cannabinoids control and regulate your nervous system and immune system. so if your body doesn’t produce enough you get deficiencies. Auto-immunes, cancers, nerve degeneratives. etc.
    plus they allow home grow for anyone who doesn’t want to pay into the system. so I doubt this monopoly is going to horde the millions and billions. most will grow there own and if anyone needed medically it will be cheaper selling it at wholesale.
    im glad a group of wealthy people could come together and help everyone else asap. if this was for them they would wait for someone else to do it an save there money, meanwhile the extra time it took people died.
    I don’t think they are after the money. I think maybe they are human and have empathy for others and many of the government sheep cant read between the lines.
    Thanks Responsible Ohio!

  56. I guess it is more like a cartel. But thanks for drawing the very important semantic distinction which will make absolutely no difference in how they will operate.I suppose you are saying that being a Conservative means manipulating the government through bribes, influence peddling and backroom deals. I don’t think that opposing state sponsored theft has something to do with being a “liberal.” But I guess you are much smarter than me.

  57. I hope that the people of Ohio reject “Responsible Ohio.” I thought that I would support absolutely any plan to legalize cannabis, but this is racketeering. Bad cannabis laws that won’t pass don’t do anyone any good. Cannabis will be legalized in many states soon. There will be no need for the Ohio bill when the dominoes start to fall.

  58. Weed is not good for most schizophrenics. It helps some. Schizophrenics smoke tobacco like chimneys. Look it up. We should avoid drug prejudice. You never know what might be helpful.

  59. Still, this would be like limiting the state to ten breweries only. It is unnecessary and pointless.

  60. Ohio Voter on

    “This is the best path for Ohio period without having a commercial grow at every corner and battles between farmers, of which you know nothing about.”

    Plz enlighten me dood?

    Guess what having more than ten commercial grows does – lowers the price for the consumer. But nah, thats not who you are supporting, you’re supporting an agricultural monopoly run by wealthy elites in a state full of Middle class wage slaves.

  61. Ohio Voter on

    Bro not only are they taking the cookie, they wont even let you lick the plate without fear of jail.

    Sorry I spoke the truth about ResponsibleOhio

    BTW, How much did they promise to loan you for your own dispensary? You gonna name it Yosemite’s Warehouse Monopoly Weed Depot?

    If you HONESTLY think that a system that allows only 10 corporations the only legal rights to profiting from the cultivation of marijuana is best for Ohio, YOU SIR are what is wrong with this country.

    see u in hell

  62. Yosemite Hill on

    Spin it how you will. However, you only advocate for maintaining prohibition on a presumptive hope of something else coming along that you can’t fund yourself or get others to do the same. Explain how you would solved the “hemp pollen issue” better in an Ag state?
    How would you structure a commission to have the least amount of conflicts, other than a Marijuana Control Commission separate from other gov bodies and independently created from all members being appointed by an elected official and explicit authority in the amendment to add additional property locations? What anarchy are you proposing Ohio Voter along with all the cursing you did below to my informed comment. All I hear from you are curses and name calling that I am a shill, when in fact you are just another representative from another initiative upset that you are getting beat to the punch and it’s not your way. This is the best path for Ohio period without having a commercial grow at every corner and battles between farmers, of which you know nothing about.

  63. Yosemite Hill on

    Tsk Tsk…your tantrum like someone took away your cookie says it all.

  64. newageblues on

    Are they depending on tobacco because they don’t like weed, or because they can’t access weed?

  65. newageblues on

    Crony capitalism flaunting its power.
    This is going to put other Ohio reform groups on the spot in 2015. Maybe they could support this, but also pledge to try to replace this with something fairer and freer by 2020 at the latest. A few years of black market priced faux legalization is tolerable. But I’d need to know there was light at the end of the crony capitalist tunnel.

  66. Ohio Voter on


    Once they change the constitution to allow ONLY their investors to grow BILLIONS of dollars worth of marijuana, WE WILL NEVER SEE A FREE MARKET FOR GROWING.

    Stop Shilling, and stop trampling the American flag with corporate oligopolist anti-free market BULLSHIT

  67. Ohio Voter on

    Dont let yosemite and john b ResponsibleOhio shills fool you….

    Under ResponsibleOhio:

    ONLY 10 investment firms will be granted the ONLY legal rights to growing marijuana for profit. And dont think this is just a baby step that can be changed after the fact. Constitutional Amendements can only be changed via the same million dollar petitioning campaign. No lawyers, no judge, no legislature, no political official has the power to change a Constitutional Amendment. This is very scary!

    Yeah, technically its not a monopoly, rather it is an Oligopoly.

    This is the corporate oligopoly model being templated accross the country, starting with Ohio. That’s right, your rights to a free market in America’s #1 cash crop are up for grabs to the highest bidder. If you think the corporate oligopolists wont be pitching this in your state next, you are sorely wrong.

    Free the herb for the people, not the corporations!

  68. This is the second or third post on the weed blog that has mis-characterized RO’s initiative as a monopoly.
    That’s plainly wrong for several reasons:
    First, a mono-poly means “one,” but this is a group of ten corporations, all with multiple investors, and open minds toward new investors, who will be required to compete with one another on quality, price, etc. That’s the exact opposite of a cartel or monopoly.
    A state commission, appointed by a Governor who is diametrically opposed to legalization, will be tasked with making sure there is no price fixing, and with recommending additional grow sites should they be needed.
    Second, over 1,100 retail licenses will be available for sellers and manufacturers. 1,100 is hardly a monopoly – heck that’s greater than the number of Starbucks in Ohio.
    I understand a site like The Weed Blog would naturally have a very liberal bias, which includes a general disdain for the very concept of rich people getting richer, but that doesn’t give them license to label the initiative a monopoly when it clearly is not one.

    Nationwide, this will be the new model for legalization efforts. It already has initiated some similar efforts in California. Legalization is going to happen via commercialization. The peace, love and free herb crowd will just have to get used to that idea.

  69. Your post has significantly increased my confidence in Ohio’s chances, even in an off-off year election. Best of luck!

  70. newageblues on

    That’s an awesome piece of agitprop, but to my eyes it’s just begging to have an anthropomorphic drink of booze added on.

  71. Yosemite Hill on

    First, hemp pollen destroys the medical-recreational cannabis crops being grown by turning it into low THC hemp, only good for hemp products (clothing, rope, protein based food, textiles, etc.). We maximize Ohio’s potential by regulating ‘commercial’ recreational-medical crops to specific property locations and allow for the future growing of large acreages of hemp crop outside. In a large agricultural state, as Ohio, this protects the recreational-medicinal crops and allows for a future hemp industry without conflict between the farmers. The RO group was asked not to include hemp in the amendment, but it is anticipated that Ohio will regulate hemp for Ohio farmers because hemp is federally legal to grow with the 2014 Congressional Farm Bill, although states still need to legislate for it.

    Second, these ten property locations are to be owned by different businesses, each having different investors, which are required to compete in state and out of state (when federally legal) by current FTC and state laws.

    Third, the number of property locations (ten) is an initial number only to start with because a Marijuana Control Commission is created with the express authority to add additional property locations based on demand metrics. This Marijuana Control Commission is created as separate from current government administration or department in order to not stretch current the responsibilities or resources of any one department already. In addition, the Marijuana Control Commission is independent from anyone pushing the amendment, or any other entity, because it is entirely appointed by the elected governor of each term. Therefore, having ten property locations with ten different businesses and a separate and independent Commission with the explicit authority to add more, is a good and responsible start to ending prohibition and setting up Ohio as a future hemp farming power house.

    Fourth, over 1100 retail licenses will be issued by this amendment and additional licenses based on population growth, as well as additional manufacturing, dispensary and caregiver licenses being provided for a free market industry at all levels along, with home growing for growing at home with up to 4 mature plants and 8 oz flower / concentrates. Throwing this opportunity away would be a vote to keep the current monopoly with the criminal justice system; a vote to label sick people who choose a safer, non-lethal medicine over addictive lethal prescriptions as criminals; a vote for continuing support of private prisons traded on the stock market in Ohio, and is completely irresponsible to vote yes for continuing prohibition.

    In conclusion, Ohio will have a choice to move forward as advocates who are free, able to advocate for continued rights for their business in a legal industry, or as advocates who are potential criminals advocating for a criminal substance; move forward as sick who can be treated and have a free discussion about other remedies with physicians or as potential criminals having a discussion with the criminal justice system without any cure. Let’s do it together and as we can, when we can, and for any initiative, so we all can move ahead as free people working within our rights of society and not as remaining potential criminals advocating for a criminal substance! It cost millions to run an amendment initiative in Ohio, who has this –Not any one entity? Is it not enough that local businesses of Ohio are willing to open the door for an entire industry to start? Vote to grow OH! Vote for our people to responsibly grow OH at home and in business! Grow with RO! I vote yes to begin the end of prohibition!

  72. I signed the petition and I will be voting yes I believe Ohio will legalize it I’m signing all petitions just for everyone’s information I am voting YES on all measures an supporting all groups there are too many people suffering in Ohio and or having to leave Ohio to get the medical treatment for themselves or for their kids it’s just down right sad and ridiculous. IT IS A PLANT!!!!!!!!!

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