Zach Perrier

Viewpoints Editor


This upcoming November’s election in Ohio is focused on two state-wide issues outside of local elections, that being the right to abortion in wake of the Dobbs Supreme Court case last year and the legalization of marijuana. Ohio is one of 23 states that allows for citizen-sponsored ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

State Issue 1, titled “The Right to Reproductive Freedom with Protections for Health and Safety,” would, if passed, be the 22nd Amendment to the Ohio Constitution. The amendment would legalize abortion in the state of Ohio, with certain exceptions. This amendment is the only one in the country this election cycle that has to do with abortion.

The proposed amendment also states that an abortion can be prohibited if the physician treating the pregnant person deems the fetus “viable.” Viability in this context means that if the fetus could survive outside the uterus, then an abortion can be prohibited by the physician. However, this rule can be circumvented if the patient’s life is at risk. The rhetoric and rules defined in the proposed amendment are similar to an amendment to Michigan’s constitution passed just last year that codified abortion rights.

Much like the rest of the nation, the proposed amendment has drawn a narrow partisan line between Republicans and Democrats. The amendment itself has already been mired in controversy when, at the end of last month, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose made changes to the language of the amendment, such as changing the term “fetus” to “unborn child.” 

Unlike Issue 1, Issue 2 is not a constitutional amendment but instead a change in the Ohio Revised Code that would allow the legalization of marijuana in the state of Ohio for people over the age of 21. The proposed law would create a 10% tax on marijuana sales and regulate growth and possession, allowing an individual over the age of 21 to possess no more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana at a time and up to 15 grams of marijuana concentrates. Medical cannabis has been legal in the state of Ohio since 2016.

Marijuana legalization has had support from Ohio politicians including Republican House Representative David Joyce, whose congressional district covers many counties east of Cleveland in Northeast Ohio. According to the Plain Dealer, Joyce has compared marijuana to alcohol and sees its legalization as a logical step in the drug’s regulation. 

However, State Issue 2 is not without its critics, most notably current Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who has cited concerns with the effect legalization might have on young Ohioans. His concern for legalizing marijuana lies with young children accidentally accessing it, asking if people would “really want to bring that to Ohio.” 

The general election including both of these issues will be on election day, Nov. 7.

Written by

Zach Perrier

Zach Perrier is a Viewpoints Editor for the Wooster Voice. He is from Mentor, Ohio and currently is a junior History major.