OHIO: Last month, Ohioans rejected a very unusual marijuana legalization proposal. Beyond legalizing pot, the ballot initiative would have given campaign donors direct rights to the state’s 10 pot farms as an explicit gift for their support. It was, even legalization advocates argued, a flagrant display of would-be members of the pot industry trying to cash in on a movement motivated primarily by social justice issues.
But while Ohio’s measure was rare in its blatant cash grab, some legalization backers are increasingly concerned that something like Ohio’s initiative will become standard — and the interests of the pot industry, which will grow more and more as legalization spreads, will take priority over the public’s best interests.
Dan Riffle, the former director of federal policy at the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a legalization advocacy group, recently told me that these concerns pushed him to leave MPP. In a revealing interview, he said that “the industry is taking over the movement.”