Chamber Opposes Proposed Ohio Amendment Legalizing Marijuana
The Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce is announcing its opposition to a proposed Ohio constitutional amendment that would permit growing, processing and sale of marijuana for recreational and medicinal use. The organization promoting this amendment calls itself ResponsibleOhio. The Canton Regional Chamber opposes the amendment out of concern for member businesses that strive to hire and maintain a drug-free workforce. The Chamber also is announcing its support for a constitutional amendment brought forth by the Ohio Legislature that would make it difficult to use the Ohio Co nstitution for creation of a business monopoly. The Chamber believes that the ResponsibleOhio proposal is attempting to create a business monopoly by using the state Constitution to limit commercial growing of marijuana to 10 specific sites, one of them in Alliance. Both the marijuana amendment and the anti-business monopoly amendment will be presented to voters in the Nov. 3 election. Regardless of the outcome of the November vote in Ohio, marijuana would remain illegal under federal law. “In our strategic plan, we are dedicated to helping foster a qualified, competent workforce for business success, which leads to job growth,” said Canton Regional Chamber President and CEO Dennis P. Saunier. “Our opposition to ResponsibleOhio is based on workforce concerns: qualifying new employees for a drug-free workplace, maintaining a drug-free workplace, and unclear consequences for employers who have workers with medicinal marijuana prescriptions from physicians.” Though many of the largest employers among the Canton Regional Chamber’s 1,600 members have concerns about ResponsibleOhio’s marijuana proposal, Saunier said that the concerns are likely to be greater for small and medium-sized businesses because they do not have large human resources and legal departments to deal with this issue. Over the last few months, the Chamber consulted with representatives of both large and small businesses. It surveyed business leaders associated in various ways with the Chamber. Finally, Chamber leaders met three times with representatives of ResponsibleOhio in an attempt to clearly understand their proposal. The Canton Regional Chamber will speak and write in opposition to ResponsibleOhio’s proposal between now and the Nov. 3 vote. It also will urge voters to support the effort to put severe limits on well funded campaigns that would create business monopolies within the state’s Constitution. The investors in ResponsibleOhio who would control the 10 growing sites are prepared to spend $20 million to persuade Ohio voters to approve their amendment. ResponsibleOhio’s television campaign began during the broadcast of the Republican presidential debate in Cleveland earlier this month. For more information on the Canton Regonal Chamber's position on this issue, please contact David Kaminski, vice president of public policy and energy, at 330.458.2059 or firstname.lastname@example.org.