Monopoly On Ohio Marijuana Market Could Be Cloudy Issue

OHIO: If the federal government ever lifts its national prohibition of marijuana, ResponsibleOhio‘s proposed monopoly on growing it in Ohio likely would go up in smoke.

That’s because of the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which reserves the ability to control trade between states exclusively for the federal government, constitutional scholars say. Ohio can do what it wants in terms of limiting what happens within its borders, they say — but not when it comes to trade from another state.

“State and local governments cannot enact laws that discriminate against interstate commerce,” said Brannon Denning, a constitutional law scholar and associate dean and a professor at Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law in Alabama. “It would be discriminatory on its face, the way Ohio’s proposed amendment is written. … If someone in Colorado was growing and they wanted to sell it at a dispensary in Ohio, they could bring suit.”