There’s a rather easy way to remember what the two controversial and hotly debated statewide issues on the Nov. 3 general election ballot in Ohio will do:
Issue 2 will prevent Ohio’s constitution from being used to legitimize a drug cartel;
Issue 3 will create a drug cartel and place Ohio’s children in harm’s way with the legalization of marijuana.
When you get your ballot, you need only read the caption for each constitutional amendment to get a sense of what the debate is all about.
Issue 2: Anti-monopoly amendment; protects the initiative process from being used for personal economic benefit.
Issue 3: Grants a monopoly for the commercial production and sale of marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes.
If that does not satisfy your hunger for information, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted put out a special supplement that was inserted in last Wednesday’s edition of The Vindicator.
From our vantage point, the debate comes down to two questions:
Should marijuana be legalized in Ohio for recreational and medicinal purposes?
Should a cartel of 10 investor groups own the 10 mega farms that will produce the marijuana for public consumption?
The answer to both is an unequivocal “no.”
But that’s exactly what will occur if voters approve Issue 3, and reject Issue 2.
But what happens if both issues pass?
Then it gets interesting. Proponents of Issue 2, which was the brainchild of Ohio Auditor David Yost, contend that it would nullify Issue 3 because it prohibits any petitioner from using the Ohio Constitution to grant a monopoly, oligopoly, or cartel for their exclusive financial benefit or to establish a preferential tax status.
But the pro-marijuana forces, with their millions of dollars being spent on the campaign, will go to court and undoubtedly argue that the wishes of the voters cannot be arbitrarily ignored.
Legal maneuvering aside, there’s a basic argument to be made against the legalization of marijuana: It’s bad for the health, safety and welfare of Ohioans.
Ohio Hospital Association
Consider this statement from Mike Abrams, president and chief executive officer of the Ohio Hospital Association:
“Marijuana use negatively impacts the long-term health of Ohioans. Our mission is to collaborate with our member hospitals and health systems to ensure a healthy Ohio.
“Ohio hospitals are committed to providing quality health care in the communities we serve. Research shows specific negative neurological effects on children exposed to second-hand smoke. In Ohio, we continue to be challenged with community health issues such as high infant mortality rates – ranking 45th out of 50 states – and smoking marijuana during pregnancy has been shown to decrease birth weight. Low birth weight is a key factor in Ohio’s infant mortality crisis.
“OHA strongly opposes the legalization of marijuana in Ohio. We need to focus our collaborative efforts on building a sustainable, affordable and vibrant health care system for all Ohioans and vote no in November for this ballot initiative.”
The Ohio Hospital Association represents 220 hospitals and 13 health systems in the state.
It is noteworthy that the OHA is just one in a long list of organizations that oppose the legalization of marijuana. If you don’t buy the arguments put forth by the medical community, consider that the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police has also come out against State Issue 3. And if that doesn’t trip your trigger – in a manner of speaking – the state’s main business organization, the chamber of commerce, and the manufacturers’ association also have expressed opposition.
As we have argued in this space over the past several months, Ohioans should not be swayed by the slick television commercials and other advertising that are designed to tug at the heart strings by focusing on the medical use of marijuana.
In reality, the push to legalize the drug is about profit – and the only avenue for the 10 investor groups to rake in the billions of dollars is through recreational use.
This vote is a no-brainer: Yes on Issue 2 and No on Issue 3.