Pubdate: Fri, 18 Sep 2015
Source: Columbus Dispatch (OH)
Copyright: 2015 The Columbus Dispatch
Author: Alan Johnson


The court said the ballot "inaccurately states pertinent information 
and omits essential information."

The state Ballot Board will meet in emergency session today to fix 
wording on a marijuana amendment that the Ohio Supreme Court ruled 
was misleading to voters.

The five-member board, chaired by Secretary of State Jon Husted, will 
meet at 9 a.m. in the Finan Senate Finance Hearing Room at the Statehouse.

The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the Ballot Board crafted 
misleading language in "four critical respects" on State Issue 3, the 
marijuana legalization constitutional amendment that will appear on 
the Nov. 3 ballot. ResponsibleOhio, the group sponsoring the 
for-profit pot ballot issue, appealed to the court after the board 
voted 3-2 for the wording at its Aug. 18 meeting.

Husted's office described what must be done as "technical changes." 
However, the Supreme Court, in its 6-1 decision, said language 
approved by Husted and the board was not just technically wrong, but 
deficient under the law.

The court said wording "inaccurately states pertinent information and 
omits essential information. The cumulative effect of these defects 
in the ballot language is fatal because the ballot language fails to 
properly identify the substance of the amendment, a failure that 
misleads voters." The court ordered the board to "reconvene 
forthwith" to adopt new language.

Husted was supported by the court on two issues, by allowing the 
title of the amendment, which includes the disputed word monopoly, to 
be retained, and rejecting ResponsibleOhio's complaint about the use 
of recreational in reference to marijuana use by anyone 21 or older.

The court said the board's wording was inaccurate or misleading 
related to a ban on locating a marijuana shop within 1,000 feet of a 
library, school, church or day-care center; the ability of 
individuals to possess 1 ounce of purchased marijuana and 8 ounces of 
home-grown marijuana; local control of retail marijuana businesses, 
and the possible addition of a new marijuana-cultivation facility 
after four years.

The two Democrats on the panel, state Rep. Kathleen Clyde of Kent and 
former state Sen. Nina Turner of Cleveland, complained that majority 
Republicans on the board have put elections officials in a time crunch.

"The Ohio Supreme Court has rightly sent us back to the drawing 
board. Now, it's a race against the clock to get new language to the 
county boards of elections so that they can print their ballots in 
time to send them to military and overseas voters," Turner said in a statement.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom