Senate panel weighs measure that could block legalizing pot

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A Senate panel is weighing potential changes to an anti-monopoly proposal that potentially could block marijuana legalization in Ohio this fall.

A committee vote is possible Tuesday. The measure would revise Ohio’s constitution to prohibit amendments that deliver commercial economic benefits to individuals, monopolies or cartels.

That includes a series of marijuana-growing sites described in ResponsibleOhio’s November marijuana issue. If lawmakers act by Aug. 5, the two amendments could appear side-by-side, with the top vote-getter prevailing.

The Ohio House approved the anti-monopoly measure last week.

Its sponsors told senators Monday the measure is necessary to protect Ohio’s constitution from well-funded private profiteering.

Some witnesses disagreed. They argued the language is overbroad, violates the First Amendment, creates unfair roadblocks for grassroots initiative campaigns, and strips voters of their decision-making power.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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