LIMA — The biggest issue that has landed on the radar screen of voters in the November election deals with whether to legalize marijuana, which will appear on the ballot Nov. 3 as Issue 3.
The issue most voters have little, if any, knowledge about is Issue 2, which also deals with the marijuana issue.
Issue 2, however, is about who can create a monopoly, oligopoly or cartel and use Ohio’s constitution for their own financial gain, said Ohio Senate President Keith Faber, a Celina Republican.
“Issue 2 makes it clear if any of that happens going forward the voters get to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the monopoly,” Faber said.
ResponsibleOhio spokeswoman Faith Oltman said Faber is not accurate.
“That’s a little vague. What we’re setting up is the entire industry,” Oltman said. “We want to implement a strict regulatory framework to start out with 10 growers, initially, and the state has the ability to add more licenses as time goes on.”
But Faber said ResponsibleOhio is about 10 groups or people hidden behind corporations and out only to make money and are trying to do so through a constitutional amendment, a path he said the constitution clearly was not set up to do.
“The pot cartel is trying to put a monopoly on the sale and distribution in the state constitution,” Faber said.
Faber said Issue 3 is only about making a group of rich people a lot richer by using the marijuana issue to trick voters into saying it’s OK to use Ohio’s constitution to form a monopoly.
Oltman said Issue 2 is about control by lawmakers upset Issue 3 is on the ballot. She said it’s about taking control away from the voters and giving lawmakers more control.
Faber said that is not the case. He said Issue 2 actually gives voters more control to decide whether a monopoly should be allowed in the future. He said ResponsibleOhio is just trying to use the anti-politician sentiment to drum up support.
Issue 2, Faber said, will update the Ohio Constitution to make it more difficult for private interest to buy a place in the constitution to make it easier to make money for only their group.
Issue 3 is only about money, Faber said, otherwise those behind the imitative only would have asked voters to approve marijuana for medical or recreational use, instead of asking voters to give exclusive rights on the sale and distribution to only 10 groups.
Oltman said that is not the case. She said the majority of people in Ohio support the legalization of marijuana and state lawmakers have done nothing during the last two decades to listen to the people and legalize marijuana.
Faber said lawmakers have decriminalized the use of marijuana. For example, a person caught with one marijuana cigarette is subject to the same fine as a speeding ticket, he said.
But Oltman said it’s still a hefty fine and it’s every time that person would be caught.
“It doesn’t make it legal. It’s still very much illegal,” she said.
She said Issue 2 was quickly created in an effort led by lawmakers to block Issue 3.
Faber doesn’t disagree with Oltman on why Issue 2 was created. He said he will proudly take a stance against Issue 3 and any efforts to use the state constitution in a way never intended.
Faber said various groups from police, prosecutors and the medical field oppose trying to legalize marijuana this way. Even pro-marijuana groups oppose it because it gives all the power to 10 groups or people, Faber said.
“That should tell you Issue 3 is not about legalizing marijuana,” Faber said.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.