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Dayton Business Group Opposes Marijuana Legalization Effort

Lewis Wallace

The constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana in Ohio will appear on the ballot for this fall, after organizers made up for an earlier shortfall in signatures.

A coalition of Dayton-area businesses and law enforcement, calling itself Dayton Regional Employers Against Marijuana or DREAM, has come out against it.

The Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce surveyed its members and found that almost 70 percent are against the proposed constitutional amendment.

“This piece of legislation might be the worst amendment, the worst public policy piece, that I have seen in my 41 years in this community,” said chamber president Phil Parker.

He says employers are concerned about the costs of drug testing and lowered employee performance. He was joined at a press conference by Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Parker and a representative of the county health board, who said addiction is expensive and legalization could make it worse, although the jury is still out on those questions in states that have already legalized.

One feature of the constitutional amendment that many oppose is that it limits pot growth to ten predetermined sites, effectively creating a monopoly.

“They want to create a cartel,” Parker said.

The amendment sponsor, ResponsibleOhio, couldn’t be reached for comment, but sent a release celebrating the ballot green light. "Drug dealers don't care about doing what's best for our state and its citizens,” ResponsibleOhio Executive Director Ian James is quoted as saying. “By reforming marijuana laws in November, we'll provide compassionate care to sick Ohioans, bring money back to our local communities and establish a new industry with limitless economic development opportunities."

Colorado reportedly brought in over $700 million in taxes from marijuana last year, and did not see a rise in crime overall.

Lewis Wallace is WYSO's managing editor, substitute host and economics reporter. Follow him @lewispants.