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Editorial

Ohio vote on marijuana one to watch

The Hancock News of Hancock, Maryland

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Yesterday, Ohio voters decided whether or not to change their state constitution to legalize recreation al marijuana. As The Washington Post reports, the Ohio amendment doesn't just allow residents to use pot for their own personal purposes. It also sets out how many marijuana growers will operate, and how.

Some in the Buckeye State fear that passage of the amendment will put the entire state's pot business in the hands of just a few investors. It looks like those business folks are the ones funding and running the campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio. They see the state, and the sale of marijuana, as a giant business opportunity. We wonder how many of the investors live in Ohio, where they would live with the daily changes that legal pot will bring.

During a recent visit to Colorado — where recreational pot is legal — we learned something interesting. Apparently, selling pot is a cash business there.

Banks, because of their interstate charters, are prohibited from financing or offering credit card services to marijuana dispensaries because of the federal laws against marijuana possession and sales. Residents there said Brinks trucks pull up to the dispensaries regularly to deal with this aspect of the business, causing security concerns for those involved. According to the Post, federal regulators are weighing whether banks should be allowed to be part of the marijuana business that is unfolding nationally.

If Ohio voters take the leap toward legalization, they will be the fifth state to okay recreational pot. Maryland veered away from that path, but many anticipate the state will eventually move in that direction. Many are watching the state's handling of medical cannabis. Folks in Hancock know recreational marijuana is a possibility in Maryland at some point, and have rightly asked what that might mean for a Hancock growing facility and the town's partnership with Harvest, Inc.

Whatever Ohio decides, America is looking at a new (or reborn) industry of cannabis cultivation. Voters and citizens around the country should remember it is, at its roots, a business — and treat it accordingly.



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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015



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