Legalizing marijuana, redistricting, barring monopolies

The three issues on the Ohio Nov. 3 ballot

By Logan Lane and Paul Clifford

On Nov. 3, voters in the state of Ohio will decide whether to legalize marijuana (Issue 3), prevent future bills from encouraging monopolies (Issue 2), and make fairer, bipartisan redistricting (Issue 1).


What is issue 3?

Issue 3, or The Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative, is an amendment to the state’s constitution that would legalize recreational and medical use of marijuana.

Voting yes would legalize the consumption and distribution of marijuana and grant 10 Marijuana Growth, Cultivation and Extraction (MGCE) facilities exclusive rights to manufacture the plant.

The MGCEs are barred from selling directly to the public, and the facilities would be run independently, in accordance with the Sherman Antitrust Act, to prevent any anti-competition tactics.

According to Anne Saker, a lead reporter on Issue 3 for the The Enquirer, purchasing marijuana would include the normal retail tax plus a special retail tax of five percent.

Lydia Bolander, a spokesperson for ResponsibleOhio, the political action committee (PAC) supporting Issue 3, maintains that the Marijuana Control and Commission Fund set up by the initiative would tax and regulate marijuana sales just like alcohol.

Voting no would keep the law as it stands today; possession and use of marijuana would remain illegal.


Could I purchase marijuana or grow it in my home?


Anyone at least 21-years-old could purchase a license for $50 from the Ohio Marijuana Control Commission, allowing them to grow up to four flowering plants and possess up to eight ounces of homegrown marijuana for use.

Recreational users, with or without a license, would be able to possess, purchase, or transport up to an ounce of marijuana.

Any person with documented debilitating medical conditions could also legally use medicinal marijuana.


What’s the deal with Issue 2?

Issue 2 is a proposed constitutional amendment written in response to claims that Issue 3 would create legal monopolies.

Passing Issue 2 would give the Ohio Ballot Board the power to review ballot initiatives to determine if they confer any special interest on commercial entities.

If the ballot board finds that an initiative creates a monopoly, then it would require two additional questions to appear on the ballot.

The first question is as follows: “Shall the petitioner, in violation of division (B)(1) of Section 1e of Article II of the Ohio Constitution, be authorized to initiate a constitutional amendment that grants or creates a monopoly, oligopoly, or cartel, specifies or determines a tax rate, or confers a commercial interest, commercial right, or commercial license that is not available to other similarly situated persons?”

The second question would repeat the initial ballot question.

If either question fails to pass, then the entire ballot initiative fails.


How does Issue 2 effect Issue 3?

Voting yes would invalidate Issue 3—even if passed—and allow the Ohio Ballot Board to review future issues that involve the potential creation of monopolies.

Voting no would keep the law as it stands today and leave Issue 3 unaffected.

If both Issue 3 and Issue 2 pass, then Issue 2 would invalidate Issue 3. However, there is a chance Issue 3 could survive. If Issue 2 is challenged in court, then the Ohio Supreme Court, with exclusive jurisdiction, decides the fate of Issue 3.


What is issue 1?

Issue 1 is a constitutional amendment that would create a new bipartisan commission to establish legislative districts. The amendment would forbid the commission from drawing voting districts that favor one party over the other.

Voting yes would increase minority party representation on Ohio’s redistricting commission. The bill would not take effect until the next redistricting in 2021.

Under the current system, only one member of the minority party sits on the five-member redistricting board. If Issue 1 is passed, two members of the minority party would be required to sit on the new, seven-member board.

In order to pass a redistricting plan, which would last for 10 years, two people from each major political party would need to agree. If they are unable to, the commission can pass a four-year plan with a simple majority vote—four of the seven board members.

In effect, Issue 1 could reduce the amount of gerrymandering during redistricting.

Voting no would maintain the current Ohio redistricting commission.