Over a century ago, Ohio voters approved a state constitutional amendment allowing the people of the state to place issues directly on the ballot. These ballot initiatives would then be voted on during elections, thus giving more power to the people and taking it out of the hands of the government.


Unfortunately, in recent years there has been an influx of savvy political groups and private interests that have tried to take advantage of this process for their own gain. Essentially, they hope to use ballot initiatives to carve out special perks and privileges in the state’s chief governing document.


The most recent example comes from a group called ResponsibleOhio, which is marketing itself as trying to legalize marijuana in Ohio. However, if you look more closely, you’ll see that the group’s definition of “legalizing marijuana” is by only allowing its production and sales to be done by a small group of wealthy investors, therefore eliminating competition and basically monopolizing the industry in Ohio.


And who exactly do you think is backing the group trying to accomplish this? Not surprisingly, it’s the very people who stand to benefit from the amendment’s passage.


I have long opposed legalizing marijuana in Ohio. But neither this issue, nor this column for that matter, is really about that. It is about standing up for good government, a government that puts power into the hands of the people, but without selling out our state’s constitution. The creation of a constitutional amendment to corner the marijuana market is a clear perversion of the original intent of the citizen initiative process.


That is why I was proud to support a measure introduced in the state legislature that would protect Ohio’s constitution from exploitation by business interests that seek to create a monopoly that is essentially bought and paid for by the constitution. House Joint Resolution 4 will place on the November ballot a proposed amendment that would put an end to this practice.


This is in no way an attempt to reduce the power that the people have to petition their government or to put issues that are most important to them directly onto the ballot. It simply safeguards Ohio’s constitution from people who wish to use the document to spearhead their own financial gain.

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John Becker Sworn In As State Representative Of The 65th House District


State Representative John Becker (R-Union Township – Clermont Co.) yesterday was sworn in as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives for the 130th General Assembly. He represents the 65th Ohio House District, which includes portions of northwest Clermont County.