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Don’t be fooled by Issue 3 smokescreen

“Buddie” the marijuana legalization mascot has begun hitting the road in Ohio, urging voters – especially college students – to vote for state Issue 3 on the November election ballot.

Television and Internet advertising urges voters to say yes to Issue 3. “Let’s make Ohio safer,” the spots recommend.

There’s even a pro-legalization T-shirt, proclaiming, “Weed Be Better Off” if Issue 3 passes.

And by the dozens, people signed up for a “Cannabis Academy” in Columbus, in hopes of learning how to profit from legalized marijuana. Those sponsoring the event did make money, by charging participants $299 each.

It almost seems as if the debate over marijuana legalization is all over but the proverbial shouting in Ohio.

But Buckeye State voters – most of them, anyway – are not stupid. They will want to know more about Issue 3 than what a giant green marijuana bud named “Buddie” is telling them. That stupid mascot alone should be reason enough to warrant the issue’s failure.

ResponsibleOhio, the very well-funded organization behind Issue 3, claims legalization will create tens of thousands of new jobs, according to one published report. “There’s plenty in this for everyone,” the group’s spokesman told a reporter.

There is much more in it for a few people, however.

Issue 3 is a proposed amendment to the state constitution. What ResponsibleOhio hopes voters overlook is that the measure would enshrine a marijuana monopoly in the constitution.

If approved, Issue 3 would allow marijuana to be grown legally at just 10 sites, all specified in the measure. Those sites already are owned by investors eager to cash in on legalization.

Issue 3 is not about marijuana “reform,” as the television and Internet spots claim. It is about making the state safe for a monopoly quite possibly more lucrative than any other. So if “Buddie” happens to buttonhole you, ask him why other groups working for legalization of marijuana oppose Issue 3. Could it be they are looking at it with clearer heads than ResponsibleOhio hopes voters will have on election day?