Vote Yes, No, Yes on Ohio Issues 1, 2, 3
For the 2015 general election on November 3, Ohioans have an unprecedented opportunity to defend their civil liberties by voting on three amendments to the Ohio constitution: yes on Issue 1, no on Issue 2, and yes on Issue 3. The ACLU of Ohio supports redistricting reform (Issue 1) and the legalization of marijuana (Issue 3), but opposes the Ohio Initiated Monopolies Amendment (Issue 2).
Yes on 1
Issue 1 seeks to overhaul Ohio’s partisan system for drawing legislative district maps, a system that has helped one party, either Republicans or Democrats, hold firm control of the Statehouse for decades. It would protect against gerrymandering by prohibiting any redistricting plan from primarily favoring one political party.
Issue 1 will:
- Create a new seven-member bipartisan panel called the “Ohio Redistricting Commission.” The commission must have at least two members from the minority party. It’s to be co-chaired by two members, one chosen by each party.
- Make all commission meetings open to the public. The commission must hold a minimum of three public hearings, and before voting on a district plan, the commission is required to present the proposal to the public and to seek public input.
- Keep communities together by requiring a district plan to split as few counties, municipal corporations, and townships as possible.
- Require at least two votes from each party in order to approve a district plan.
- Create a process for the Supreme Court of Ohio to order the commission to redraw the map if the plan favors one political party.
No on 2
For over a century, Ohioans have had the power to directly amend the state constitution by putting key issues on the ballot. This year, however, Issue 2 would change Ohio’s democratic process to make it harder for certain citizen-initiated constitutional amendments to pass.
Getting initiatives on the ballot in Ohio is difficult and expensive. Citizens should have a reasonable opportunity to put forth a viable ballot initiative.
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Issue 2 will:
- Require voters to approve two questions pertaining to citizen initiatives establishing economic monopolies. Ohio lawmakers crafted Issue 2 in response to the Marijuana Legalization Initiative (Issue 3), which would create 10 facilities with exclusive rights to commercially grow the drug.
- Invalidate any voter-approved initiatives on this year’s ballot that establishes economic monopolies. It would expressly nullify Issue 3 or marijuana legalization.
Yes on 3
In 2012, Ohio law enforcement officers arrested or cited 14,374 people for marijuana-related offenses—94 percent for possession only. Marijuana arrests cost Ohio taxpayers over $120 million in 2010 alone. These arrests are a huge conduit to the judicial system, branding tens of thousands with criminal records and often severely limiting their potential positive impact to themselves, their families and communities thereafter—despite Ohio “decriminalizing” possession of less than 100 grams of marijuana.
Bottom line: the war on drugs is an expensive failure when directed against the marijuana consumer. Over half our country doesn’t think holding small amounts should be a criminal offense. The proposed measure specifies the legal use, cultivation and sale of marijuana in Ohio.
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Issue 3 will:
- Legalize the limited sale and use of recreational and medicinal marijuana and create 10 facilities with exclusive rights to commercially grow the drug.
- Allow anyone at least 21 years old with a valid state license to use, possess, grow, cultivate, and share up to eight ounces of homegrown marijuana and four flowering marijuana plants. It would also allow them to purchase, possess, transport, use and share up to one ounce of marijuana.
- Allow anyone with a certified debilitating medical condition to use medicinal marijuana.
If Issue 3 passes:
- The Fresh Start Act would expunge the records of people convicted of most marijuana-related crimes. The Fresh Start Act, if passed either by the Ohio General Assembly or as a ballot initiative, would give Ohioans with previous marijuana-related offenses a much needed second chance in life.
For more information about your voting rights and early voting opportunities, visit the ACLU Vote Center.