By: Chelsie Firestone
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
In addition to several county issues and candidates, voters will be asked to place their vote on three statewide issues during the upcoming general election. The issues, along with arguments both in favor and against each issue, are detailed below.
The proposed amendment would end the partisan process for drawing Ohio House and Senate districts, and replace it with a bipartisan process with the goal of having district boundaries that are more compact and politically competitive.
Arguments for the issue state that “A yes vote will… create a fair, bipartisan, and transparent redistricting process that will make politicians accountable to the voters. Currently, it is far too easy for politicians to gerrymander their way into safe seats. Voting yes will make sure state legislative districts are drawn to be more competitive and compact, and ensure that no district plan should be drawn to favor or disfavor a political party.”
Arguments against the issue state that “The current process for drawing new legislative districts is adequate and has served Ohio well for many years. The gerrymandering that results from partisan control is not a bad process because it leads to one-party control of government and voters can know who to hold responsible. Competitive districts are not a virtue because politicians have to spend so much time campaigning for re-election and are not able to do as much legislative work.”
The proposed amendment would prohibit any individual or entity from proposing a constitutional amendment that would grant a monopoly, oligopoly, or cartel, specify or determine a tax rate, or confer a commercial interest, right, or license that is not available to similarly situated people or nonpublic agencies. The proposal would prohibit taking effect any proposed constitutional amendment that appears on the November 3, 2015 statewide ballot creating a monopoly, oligopoly, or cartel for the sale, distribution, or other use of any federal Schedule I controlled substance.
Arguments for the issue state that “The Constitution should be used to protect fundamental rights of all individuals, not to guarantee financial profits for a select few. Special interests are using our state’s initiative process to create exclusive financial benefits for themselves in our Constitution”.
Arguments against the issue state that “The status quo is adequate… There is no reason to prevent anyone from amending the Ohio Constitution, even if it is for selfish, personal benefit, so long as the people support it by a majority vote… If the people of Ohio want to allow the creation of a monopoly or cartel, they should be given the opportunity to do so, and no barriers should stand in their way.
Perhaps the most talked about issue facing Ohio voters this general election, the specific langue of Issue 3 is that the issue “Grants a monopoly for the commercial production and sale of marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes”.
Supporters of the issue state that “Issue 3 authorizes non-profit dispensaries for medicinal marijuana, which Ohio doctors could prescribe to treat patients with cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, sickle cell anemia or other debilitating diseases; children with epilepsy; and veterans with post –traumatic stress disorder. Issue 3 establishes an industry that will create tens of thousands of jobs in Ohio. It permits, regulates, and taxes marijuana sales by licensed growers and retailers. It will eventually generate more than $550 million annually in tax revenue, 85% of which will go directly to local governments, which may spend these funds on public safety, economic development, road/bridge repair, and other infrastructure improvements. Issue 3 creates an independent commission that will regulate the growth and sale of marijuana and issue licenses to ten initial grow facilities”.
Dissenters argue that “Issue 3 cements in the Constitution a billion-dollar marijuana monopoly for a small group of wealth investors” by giving them “exclusive rights to commercial marijuana profits in Ohio, and insulates them from any business competition or act of legislature. The investors who wrote Issue 3 set their own preferential tax rates directly into the Constitution – rates that can’t be changed by the Legislature like those on beer, wine, and tobacco.” They also argue that “Issue 3 puts our children at risk by legalizing marijuana-infused products like candy and cookies” as well as by resulting in broad exposure of children and underage high school and college students to marijuana. Also argued is that “Proponents imply that Issue 3 allows small amounts of marijuana for recreational use. In reality, it allows every adult 21 or over in the state the right to possess as much as 9 ounces of marijuana… In addition, every adult could possess four flowering marijuana plants at home. Issue 3 allows 1159 retail marijuana stores – that’s more locations than Starbucks or McDonalds, and nearly three times the number of state liquor stores.”
More information, including detailed fiscal analysis and summaries of all of these issues, can be found by visiting your local Board of Elections website, which are listed at the end of the county issues articles in this edition. All information contained in this article can also be found at these websites.
Chelsie can be reached at