Issue 2 is a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that will appear on the ballot in the November 2015 general election. Initiated by the Ohio General Assembly, the stated intent of Issue 2 is to thwart passage of the “Marijuana Legalization Amendment” sponsored by the Responsible Ohio PAC, due to its approach toward marijuana cultivation (allowing only 10 growing sites in Ohio). Issue 2 has far-reaching consequences. It could forever change the ability of “We the People” to engage in direct democracy, especially when our legislators cannot or will not.
Tough enough already. The process of fielding a citizen-led ballot initiative in Ohio is already far more costly, complicated and cumbersome than it is in other states, where initial filings and committee procedures are easier or the required number of signatures and geographic regions are smaller. Issue 2 would make this process even more complex. The end result would silence the voice of “We the People” in favor of the legislature.
In summary, Issue 2 is about far more than thwarting monopolies. Its real purpose is to quash the citizen-led ballot initiative process that has been part of the Ohio Constitution since 1912. It can be argued that these measures have been instrumental to gaining public acceptance of controversial issues like same-sex marriage, collective bargaining and marijuana. Issue 2 will change these long standing procedures, while politicizing the process clearly to favor the political party in power. It would require campaigns for even the most worthy issues to undergo the arduous, time consuming and multi-million dollar ballot placement process only to have three politically appointed members of the partisan Ohio Ballot Board tank the effort in the very end based solely on their interpretation of what a monopoly, tax or commercial interest is. Today, every issue contains at least one of these. Issue 2 is aimed at muzzling lawmakers’ real opposition – We the People.
There is much more hidden in this constitutional amendment than what the people are being told. Look at this language right from the amendment itself:
“…confer a commercial interest, commercial right, or commercial license to any person, nonpublic Entity, or group of persons or nonpublic entities, or any combination thereof, however organized, that is not then available to other similarly situated persons or nonpublic entities.”
Because in our screwed up current system, corporations have been granted “personhood rights”, if the people try to propose a constitutional amendment that attempts to limit corporate powers over real people, they could claim it grants an “unfair interest to the people against them.” The initiative could be about workers’ rights, environmental issues, local self governance….what ever the people are trying to change that might limit corporations. This is the fear with the way this amendment is worded…it will be used against people and in favor of corporations.