Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jun 2015
Source: Dayton Daily News (OH)
Copyright: 2015 Dayton Daily News
Author: Laura A. Bischoff


Voters May See Two Competing Issues on November's Ballot.

Ohio voters may face competing issues on the ballot in November - one 
to legalize marijuana and another to block the pot plan and any 
attempts to install a monopoly into the state constitution.

The Ohio House voted 8112 on Wednesday in favor of a resolution to 
put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that could make 
the voter results of a proposed pot ballot issue moot.

State Rep. Mike Curtin, DMarble Cliff, the resolution's co-sponsor, 
said it'll guard against political operators using the citizen 
initiative process to create constitutionally-sanctioned monopolies 
for business interests.

"This is a historic moment. We're seeing attempts to mangle the 
initiative (process), to turn it on its head. We should all be 
passionate about that," Curtin said.

But state Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Kent, said the resolution is too 
rushed and too vague and called it "one of the most reckless 
anti-voter maneuvers I have witnessed in my time here." She warned 
that it would block legitimate citizen issues from making it to the 
statewide ballot.

House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn, D-Dayton, was among those voting 
no. Other Dayton-Springfield area lawmakers voted yes.

The measure now moves to the Ohio Senate for consideration.

Meanwhile, ResponsibleOhio, the investor-backed campaign to legalize 
marijuana, is aiming to turn in 700,000 signatures to the Ohio 
Secretary of State on July 1. The campaign needs 306,000 valid voter 
signatures to qualify for the ballot.

The plan, in part, calls for establishing 10 growing sites controlled 
by the investors who are backing the campaign - a structure that 
opponents say is a monopoly that would be installed in the Ohio 
Constitution. ResponsibleOhio denies the monopoly charge and instead 
describes the structure as a carefully regulated and taxed green industry.

It is expected that both issues will make the ballot. If both pass, 
Ohio officials say the lawmaker backed one will trump the other. 
Curtin, however, said if both pass, the one receiving the most yes 
votes will prevail.

ResponsibleOhio Director Ian James said the politicians are trying to 
take away the voters' voice.

"It's pretty clear that the Statehouse politicians - some of them - 
believe that the voters were smart enough to choose them for the job 
but they aren't smart enough to decide on a ballot issue. That's an 
untenable place for any politician to be, to suggest that. And that 
is exactly what they're suggesting," he said. "We believe the voters 
should have the right to decide this issue."

State lawmakers have failed to act on marijuana legalization or 
medical marijuana over the past two decades, James said.
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