The Ohio Supreme Court handed down a verdict earlier this week that suggested the state intentionally penned a misleading description of ResponsibleOhio’s initiative to legalize marijuana and ordered election officials to edit the content with a less subjective voice.
In the ruling, the state’s highest court determined that the Ohio Ballot Board and its fearless leader, Secretary of State Jon Husted, made a number of errors in the authoring of an overview for Issue 3. Among the fowl ups was the fact that the state provided inaccurate details about the proposal and “omits essential information” that could bamboozle voters into making a swayed decision.
“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 verdict stated.
However, while the court ordered the Ballot Board to rewrite four specific paragraphs dealing with the how retail pot shops would be allowed to open as well as the areas of cultivation and personal possession, they did not budge on the ballot’s title, which uses the word “monopoly” – a term that has been at the pulse of this controversial measure from the beginning.
“The Ohio Supreme Court agreed with me, the dictionary, common sense and many news publications across our state that State Issue 3 would create a marijuana monopoly in Ohio and that the voters deserve to be given that information before casting their ballots,” Husted said in a statement.
Still, ResponsibleOhio executive director Ian James said he feels the decision is a victory for his organization and for the people.
“[V]oters have won on an important front,” he said. “The Supreme Court found the secretary and Ballot Board used inaccurate misleading and fatally flawed language that did not providers voters a fair representation of Issue of Issue 3. Today’s ruling is a slap to the Secretary of State for waging a political campaign from his elected office, using taxpayer dollars.”
In the near future, the Ballot Board must “reconvene forthwith and adopt language in these four paragraphs that property describes the proposed constitutional amendment, so that it may appear on the ballot.”
This case was pushed through expeditiously in order to resolve the issue before voters begin casting ballots through the mail on October 6. The general election is set for November 3.
If passed, ResponsibleOhio’s initiative would eliminate prohibition across the state. It would allow the average citizen to be in possession of up to eight ounces of weed and cultivate up to four mature plants. On the medicinal side, children in need of cannabis oil for epilepsy or any other serious ailment would be allowed to have their medicine in school.