State announces ballot language for marijuana amendments

Marijuana plant. (Photo/NBC News)
Marijuana plant. (Photo/NBC News)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – The Ohio Ballot Board approved the ballot language for three state initiatives Tuesday, including two about the legalization of marijuana.

Ohio Secretary Jon Husted announced the order the state issues will appear on the November 3 ballot as follows:

ISSUE 1: Redistricting, state legislator ballot issue to create a bi-partisan redistricting commission, which would draw state legislative districts

ISSUE 2: Prohibiting a monopoly, state legislator ballot issue to address economic monopolies, particularly as it relates to citizen petitions 

ISSUE 3: Legalizing marijuana, citizen ballot issue to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use for Ohioans 21-years-old and older.

Two of the amendments are about marijuana.

Issue 3 is by ResponsibleOhio (RO). It calls primarily for the legalization of the drug. In part, Issue 3 reads that the amendment would legalize marijuana in several forms, allow Ohioans 21 and older for example to purchase, grow, possess and use over a half pound of marijuana. It would also limit state lawmakers and local government from regulating the marijuana industry.

The other issue, Issue 2, a monopoly measure, by state legislators is asking voters to decide on prohibiting monopolies. A monopoly is when one group or person controls an entire industry.

Issue 2 basically means the amendment would prohibit any petition from using the Ohio Constitution to grant a monopoly. Plus, it prohibits on this November’s ballot any constitutional amendment that creates a monopoly from taking effect.

State legislators’ amendment hopes to block RO by making voters choose on both prohibiting monopolies and legalizing marijuana. Lawmakers believe the non-profit organization will create a monopoly since it will have sole control of a privatized marijuana industry, allowing only 10 facilities.

ResponsibleOhio denies those allegations.

The group is responding to the Ballot Board’s decision. In a statement. the Responsible Ohio’s counsel says the ballot language: “… is clearly biased and gives preference to the arguments of marijuana reform opponents. The language is inaccurate and strategically worded as to misguide voters.”

The non-profit says because it was assigned as Issue 3, the marijuana legalization initiative is being slighted.

On Election Day, if voters want to approve ResponsibleOhio’s plan to legalize marijuana, then there would need to be a majority “no” vote to Issue 2 and a majority “yes” vote to Issue 3 legalizes marijuana.

RO’s plan is to take the Ballot Board’s decision on the amendment language to the Ohio Supreme Court.

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