Printable PDF Overview is available at the end of this article

Issue 1  
Ohio Bipartisan Redistricting Commission Amendment

The Ohio Bipartisan Redistricting Commission Amendment, Issue 1 is on the November 3, 2015 ballot in Ohio as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment. The measure, upon voter approval, would create a bipartisan redistricting commission, the Ohio Redistricting Commission, to draw state legislative districts. The measure would also establish new requirements for district standards.

The Ohio Redistricting Commission would consist of the following seven members: the Governor, State Auditor, Secretary of State, one person appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, one person appointed by the legislative leader of the largest political party in the house of which the speaker is not a member, one person appointed by the President of the Ohio Senate and one person appointed by the legislative leader of the largest political party in the senate of which the president is not a member.

While the current system guarantees that one out of five members of the commission are from the minority party, the proposed system would assure that two out of seven members are from the minority party. In other words, the new amendment would secure 29 percent of the commission seats for minority party members, whereas the current system secures 20 percent of the commission seats for minority party members.

To approve a redistricting plan for 10 years, a bipartisan vote of four members, two from each major political party, would be required. If the commission fails to pass a plan by a bipartisan vote, members would pass a plan by a simple majority vote of any four members. However, this plan would only last four years.

All legislative districts would be required to be composed of “contiguous territory, and the boundary of each district to be a single nonintersecting continuous line.” They would also be required to be “compact.” The amendment would forbid district plans from favoring or disfavoring a political party.

The amendment would go into effect in 2021, which is when the next redistricting will occur.


Issue 2
Ohio Initiated Monopolies Amendment

The Ohio Initiated Monopolies Amendment, Issue 2 is slated to appear on the Ohio ballot on November 3, 2015, as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment. The measure, upon voter approval, would require voters to approve two questions pertaining to citizen initiatives establishing economic monopolies.[1]Lawmakers crafted the Ohio Initiative Monopolies Amendment in response to the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, which would allow for 10 grower-sellers of marijuana in Ohio.

The Initiated Monopolies Amendment would require the Ohio Ballot Board to determine whether an initiative would create an economic monopoly or special privilege for any nonpublic entity, including individuals, corporations and organizations. If the Ohio Ballot Board determines that an initiative would create an economic monopoly or special privilege, then the board shall provide two separate ballot questions. The first question would ask, “Shall the petitioner, in violation of division of Section 1e of Article II of the Ohio Constitution, be authorized to initiate a constitutional amendment that grants or creates a monopoly, oligopoly, or cartel, specifies or determines a tax rate, or confers a commercial interest, commercial right, or commercial license that is not available to other similarly situated persons?” The second question would be the ballot initiative. If both questions are approved, then the amendment would take effect. If only one question is approved, then the amendment would be defeated.

If voters approve the amendment, it would invalidate any initiatives voters approved on the November 3 ballot that establish economic monopolies. Specially, it would invalidate the Marijuana Legalization Initiative.

The measure was introduced into the Ohio Legislature by Rep. Ryan Smith (R-93) and Rep. Michael F. Curtin(D-17) as House Joint Resolution 4.


Issue 3
Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative

The Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative is an Ohio initiated constitutional amendment on the ballot on November 3, 2015. The measure, upon voter approval, would legalize the medical and personal use of marijuana for persons who are 21 years of age or older. The use of medical marijuana would require a doctor’s note. A recreational user of marijuana would be permitted to possess one ounce of the drug or less. Someone choosing to grow marijuana at home for personal use would be permitted to grow four flowering plants at a given time with a cultivation license.

An Ohio Marijuana Control Commission would be established to regulate industrial and homegrown cannabis production, the chemical content of marijuana products, retail sales and taxation of marijuana. The commission would also act as a clearing house for scientific research on marijuana and establish a marijuana innovation and business incubator in Cuyahoga County.

A special flat tax of 15 percent would be imposed on the profits of all marijuana production facilities. A 5 percent flat tax would be imposed on all marijuana retail stores. Revenue from these taxes would be distributed as follows: 55 percent to the Municipal and Township Government Stabilization Fund, 30 percent to the Strong County Fund and 15 percent to the Marijuana Control Commission Fund. All production facilities and retail stores would be required to pay all other taxes, fees and assessments levied on businesses in general.

The amendment would provide for 10 site-specific Marijuana Growth, Cultivation and Extraction (MGCE) facilities, which can only be relocated by the commission under certain conditions. The amendment states: “Marijuana and medical marijuana may be grown, cultivated and extracted for sale and medical use only at these state regulated and licensed facilities. One of each of the ten specified sites is in the following counties: Butler, Clermont, Franklin, Hamilton, Licking, Lorain, Lucas, Delaware, Stark, and Summit.”

The Ohio Legislature was especially critical of this section of the initiative, referring an anti-monopoly amendment to the ballot in response. The legislature’s amendment, if approved by voters, would block the marijuana initiative from going into effect.

The total number of marijuana retail stores in Ohio would be limited by a ratio of one store for every 10,000 Ohioans. With Ohio’s population at 11,594,163 in 2014, the amendment would allow for a maximum of 1,159 stores. Retail sale of marijuana would not be allowed to take place within 1,000 feet of a church, school, library, playground or childcare facility. A store’s location would also need to be approved by the electorate of the precinct in which the store would be located.

MGCE facilities would be required to sell medical marijuana at their lowest wholesale price and in sufficient quantity to medical dispensaries.

The amendment would criminalize selling or transferring marijuana to a minor, hiring a minor to work at a marijuana establishment, operating a vehicle under the influence and using marijuana in public places. Employers would not be required to accommodate the use of medical or recreational marijuana.



Printable Overview Explanation
of Issue 1, 2 and 3

Glenn Newman
Marietta 9-12 Project