By Wayne Allen
As it appears now Ohio voters may be faced with two conflicting issues on the November General Election Ballot.
According to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, there may be an issue that favors the legalization of marijuana and a monopoly-prohibiting issue on the November General Election Ballot. Both issues are seeking to amend the Ohio Constitution.
The group ResponsibleOhio has been working towards placing a measure on the ballot that if passed would amend the Ohio Constitution, to legalize marijuana for personal and medicinal use.
Members of the House of Representatives have proposed a constitutional amendment that would prohibit monopolies from being written into the state constitution.
Neither of the issues have completed all of the necessary steps to appear on the ballot.
“It’s important to note that this is a discussion of two potential proposals, neither of which has officially reserved a place on this November’s ballot at this point,” Husted said.
Husted issued guidance on the potential situation.
“As the state’s chief elections officer, I feel it is important for voters to fully understand what a vote for or against either proposal will mean and what the potential outcomes will be if one or both of these proposed initiatives were to prevail in November,” Husted said.
Husted said it’s clear to see the conflict between the two issues.
“It is clear that the marijuana proposal from ResponsibleOhio and the anti-monopoly language proposed by the General Assembly are in conflict with each other. Specifically, the section of the ResponsibleOhio proposal that creates a private marijuana monopoly directly conflicts with the General Assembly’s proposal, which seeks to prohibit the creation of such commercial monopolies,” Husted said. “In such cases, the Ohio constitution clearly establishes a resolution to this conflict by declaring that the amendment that receives the greater number of votes prevails.”
Husted said the way Ohio’s Constitution is written if a citizen-initiated petition gets approved by voters it will go into effect 30 days after passage. He said the constitution does not give a time line for initiatives placed before the voters by the General Assembly.
“Thus, should both proposed measures be approved, the anti-monopoly amendment put forth by the legislature would go into effect first and it’s provision banning a monopoly from inclusion in the constitution would serve as an effective roadblock to ResponsibleOhio’s amendment taking effect,” Husted said. “In either circumstance, should the legislature’s amendment be approved at the ballot box, it will establish dominance and prevent ResponsibleOhio’s provision from taking a place in the state’s constitution.”
For more information about the ResponsibleOhio initiative visit, responsibleohio.com.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT