COLUMBUS — Just as voters are recovering from the record-breaking onslaught of TV ads over drug pricing, they’d better prepare for what could be a busy ballot in 2018.
Recreational marijuana could be back.
There could be dueling issues to change the inherently political process through which Ohio redraws congressional districts every 10 years.
Petitions are in the field to put a pair of constitutional amendments on the fall ballot to give voters in counties and townships home-rule power — like cities and villages have — to pass laws via the ballot box.
Issues of recreational marijuana and the regulation of puppy mills could be among the items on the ballot when Ohioans head to the polls in 2018.
A proposed constitutional amendment would require the state to provide more local rehabilitation and treatment options for low-level, non-violent drug offenders and give sentence credit for time they’ve spent in treatment, work, or education programs.
Another would impose stricter regulations on puppy mills.
“The reason people go to the ballot is because the legislature isn’t dealing with their problems,” said Peg Rosenfeld, elections specialist for the League of Women Voters of Ohio. “That’s why we have initiative and referendum. They figured that out in 1912. If the legislature can’t or won’t do it, this is a way for people to do it for themselves. It looks like that’s what’s happening.”
Two years ago voters agreed to change the redistricting process for state legislative districts. The new system will be used for the first time after the next U.S. Census in 2020.
Among other things, it is designed to provide for more bipartisan input, require the resulting map to be more politically representative of the state as a whole, and attempt