Pubdate: Wed, 24 Jun 2015
Source: Dayton Daily News (OH)
Copyright: 2015 Dayton Daily News
Author: Laura A. Bischoff


Resolution to Make It Harder to Change Ohio Constitution.

COLUMBUS - Lawmakers in the Ohio House on Tuesday advanced a move to 
block marijuana legalization and thwart other business interests in 
"hijacking" the state constitution for their own profit.

The House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee voted 92 
in favor of a resolution that would put a constitutional amendment 
before Ohio voters in November to make it more difficult for 
commercial interests to change the state constitution. The resolution 
is crafted to block a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana 
for medical and personal use that is also headed for the November ballot.

Backers of the resolution say it's needed to block moneyed special 
interests from buying constitutional amendments for their own 
commercial benefit, such as casinos, marijuana growers or others. 
Opponents say it is a blatant attempt to shift power from the people 
to the General Assembly.

"The Ohio Constitution was designed to provide its citizens with a 
direct avenue to bypass the Ohio General Assembly should it refuse to 
act on an issue of great general or public importance," said attorney 
Chris Stock, who is a principle author of a proposed constitutional 
amendment to legalize marijuana.

Stock noted that marijuana legalization has been ignored by the Ohio 
General Assembly for nearly 20 years. ResponsibleOhio, the group 
campaigning to legalize weed, will submit petition signatures next 
week for a statewide vote in November.

State Rep. Mike Curtin, D-Marble Cliff, sponsor of the resolution, 
said language in the constitution since 1912 dictates that if 
conflicting amendments both pass in the same election, the one that 
receives the most votes trumps the other. The Ohio Secretary of 
State's office also noted that citizen-initiated amendments go into 
effect 30 days after the vote while those backed by the General 
Assembly take effect immediately.

Curtin's resolution still needs approval by the full House as well as 
the Ohio Senate.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom