Ohio now a battleground state for marijuana

Ohio would make history by approving both medical and recreational marijuana at the same time
Ohio would make history by approving both med... 03:29

Four states already allow recreational pot, but approved medical marijuana first. Now, Ohio could make history by legalizing both at the same time, and the pro-marijuana camp is ramping up as the days until the vote are counting down.

A new poll finds most Ohioans support legalization, but the campaign is stirring up controversy, reports CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen.

Ian James, who spent 30 years as a campaign strategist in Ohio, is leading the charge to legalize pot in Ohio. He said his experience of working with President Obama's national data team helped accelerate his campaign, which aims to knock on a million doors between now and Election Day.

"You've got that old saying of: 'As goes Ohio, so goes the nation,'" he said.

Politically, Ohio is a battleground state. But right now, the battle is about the actual ground - one of the fields where marijuana could be grown.

Unlike other states that have legalized pot, a "yes" vote would amend the constitution to allow only 10 groups of already handpicked investors the exclusive right to grow the state's entire supply of pot.

Popular two-term former governor Bob Taft is one of the amendment's most vocal opponents.

"This is not the right way to do it," said Taft. "If it's not a monopoly, it's an oligopoly you're talking about - 10 growing sites."

And when a Taft speaks, Ohio listens. For a century the family has produced politicians, from senators to a president.

"They're going to control the entire market in a state of 11 million people. So that is an exclusive, commercial right," said Taft. "I don't think that the tax benefits outweigh the hazards, the risks of going full for recreational-medical all the way, flooding our state with edible products that are attractive to our kids."

Woody Taft, Bob's distant cousin, finds himself on the opposite side of the issue, as one of the investors who will get to grow the pot.

"I'm in this first because I believe that right, and I'm in it second to make money," he said.

So far Woody and 23 other investors have funded $20 million of the $24 million pro-legalization campaign.

"Look, someone's going to step forward and do this," said James. "It does take money in Ohio to get on the ballot. It takes money to run a campaign."

Opponents are fighting back with their own amendment on the ballot to ban monopolies, and a possible lawsuit could follow, leading to a possible battle in yet another state turn a black market into the newest big business.