Ohio voters will see marijuana legalization on the 2015 ballot. The legalization initiative, which was put on the ballot by the ResponsibleOhio campaign, would legalize the possession and cultivation of marijuana for all adults over 21 in Ohio, and would grant the exclusive right to grow marijuana for profit to ten entities. That last provision has caused quite a bit of controversy, and was what inspired House Joint Joint Resolution 4, which was introduced by Reps. Ryan Smith, a Bidwell Republican, and Mike Curtin, a Columbus-area Democrat. House Resolution 4 would prohibit the ResponsibleOhio business model. That resolution is going to also be on the 2015 ballot in Ohio.
So what happens if both items pass on Election Day 2015 in Ohio? There seems to be conflicting opinions. On one hand you have people claiming that whichever proposal gets more votes becomes law. That seems simple enough. However, others are pointing out that citizen initiatives take 30 days to become law, whereas legislative referrals take effect immediately. So those same people are saying that Joint House Resolution 4 would trump the legalization initiative because it takes effect first. Per Cleveland.Com:
The Ohio Constitution says if two conflicting amendments on the same ballot pass, the one that gets the most votes becomes law. But the constitution also says citizen-initiated amendments, such as the marijuana legalization amendment, become law 30 days after an election while legislature-sponsored amendments become law immediately.
Ohio’s chief election official, Secretary of State Jon Husted, says it’s clear: The amendment seeking to block the marijuana plan would prevail because it would take effect first.
But marijuana legalization backers who disagree with Husted’s interpretation would likely challenge it in the Ohio Supreme Court, leaving the ultimate decision in the hands of the justices.
Both sides have an argument to make, and both sides seem to be technically right. So there’s no way to know how it will end up until a decision is eventually rendered by the Ohio Supreme Court, assuming that both pass. I haven’t seen any polling recently for the initiative or the resolution, which hopefully will happen soon. Do you live in Ohio? How do you plan on voting, both on the initiative and the resolution?