By Nicole Hennessy
The Nov. 3 election is next week. While there are many local issues and candidates on the ballot, there are just three state issues.
The following is a summary of those issues, as well as points of view for and against them.
Issue 1 – (Exact ballot language) Creates a bipartisan, public process for drawing legislative district. If approved, this proposed amendment will go into effect immediately.
This proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution aims to change the way state legislative districts are determined by replacing the state’s current Apportionment Board with a bipartisan Ohio Redistricting Commission (ORC), which must operate during public hearings. The issue also clearly states rules for map-making and prohibits partisan gerrymandering – a political tactic of manipulating boundaries to ensure a desired outcome of voting. The next time maps will be drawn in Ohio – an event that takes place every 10 years – is in 2021, when, if passed, this amendment would be exercised for the first time. Though Issue 1 does away with gerrymandering, it does not address the same process of drawing maps for U.S. congressional districts. Also, legislators could still influence their colleagues on the ORC to draw districts in ways that may be beneficial to them. Supporters find the proposed amendment’s strength is in the transparency and regulations resulting from the establishment of the ORC.
Issue 2 – (Exact ballot language) Anti-monopoly amendment; protects the initiative process from being used for personal economic benefit.
Issue 2 would prohibit an amendment to the Ohio Constitution prohibiting any initiative that creates monopolies, oligopolies, and cartels. Ohio’s constitution would also be changed to prohibit specifying tax rates or granting licenses in future proposed amendments. If both Issue 2 and Issue 3 pass, they will create conflicting section in the Ohio Constitution and the matter will need to be resolved, likely by The Ohio Supreme Court. Supporters say this issue aims to protect the public from special interests. Opponents say Issue 2 would block future marijuana legalization proposals and that it would affect
future constitutional amendments having to do with with tax rates.
Issue 3 – (Exact ballot language) Grants a monopoly for the commercial production and sale
of marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes.
Issue 3 aims to legalize marijuana for personal and medical use, as well as establish rules for growth and sales. Under the proposed amendment, the growth and cultivation of marijuana statewide would be limited to 10 specific sites pre-determined by private investors. While approximately 1,100 retailers will be approved to sell marijuana, they must purchase it from the 10 specified sites and can sell one ounce at a time to customers aged 21 and over. Individuals would be permitted to grow up to four plants and possess eight ounces of marijuana at one time after obtaining a $50 permit. The four allotted plants must also be purchased from the 10 specified growing sites. Issue 3 also specifies that selling marijuana outside of approved retail sites would be a felony with a potential sentence of up to one year in prison. Another marijuana legalization amendment, proposed for 2016, would allow anyone to apply for commercial growing licenses. Supporters of Issue 3 argue that it is positive in that it creates rules that will allow for a tightly controlled and regulated industry and that the marijuana produced at the 10 approved sites will meet certain safety standards. Jobs will also be created. Opponents argue that creating monopolies is a bad idea, though the proposed legislation states that if demand exceeds the capabilities of the 10 initial growing sites, additional suppliers could be added after four years if approved by an internal Marijuana Control Commission similar to the Casino Control Commission that oversees Ohio’s casinos. Opponents also argue that the availability of marijuana products, such as infused products, like candy and baked goods, will present a danger to children. Those for the legislation argue that legalization will reduce violent and/or illegal activities surrounding the sale of marijuana and the incarceration of low-level drug users.