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Former 98 Degrees singer pushes for Ohio pot oligopoly

A volunteer for ResponsibleOhio, a pro-marijuana legalization group, holds a clipboard during a promotional tour stop at Miami University, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, in Oxford, Ohio.(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

A volunteer for ResponsibleOhio, a pro-marijuana legalization group, holds a clipboard during a promotional tour stop at Miami University, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, in Oxford, Ohio.(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

On Tuesday, Ohio voters could legalize marijuana. If they do, former 98 Degrees singer Nick Lachey will get a large income boost.

Issue 3 would allow medical marijuana as well as recreational marijuana use, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. The controversy, however, comes from its market effects.

While individuals could grow up to four plants at home, only 10 investor groups could legally grow marijuana for commercial sale. Based on local precincts, up to 1,150 marijuana retail stores could emerge across the state, but they could only buy from the oligopoly.

ResponsibleOhio has funded the ballot initiative, its funders being the investor groups. Nick Lachey is one of them, and he stands to make a lot of money off legal marijuana if the issue passes, according to Vanity Fair.

 Only in Ohio could legal marijuana teeter on the question of a state-mandated supplier oligopoly.

The deal-with-the-devil aspect has made traditional advocates of marijuana legalization hesitant to embrace Issue 3.

Some newspaper editors in Ohio reluctantly support it, even though it’s flawed. That hasn’t helped voters come down decisively either way. A September University of Akron poll found support and opposition to Issue 3 equal at 46 percent with 8 percent of registered voters undecided.

If the initiative fails, Ohio might not see another effort to legalize marijuana for years. Its triumph, however, could cause ripple effects. Route Fifty expects other states to copy the model, as investors could fund an initiative to gain a short-term oligopoly in the early years of marijuana legalization.


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