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O-High-O, or No?

 

     Oftentimes, college students push politics to the side because it seems confusing and out of our control. But that isn’t entirely the case.

     Politics can be a difficult topic, but the issues can become clearer when you take time to dissect the issues and compare them to your values.

     In Ohio, there are three issues that will be on the ballot, along with candidates for local offices.

     The first issue deals with redistricting. This means that voters are deciding whether or not boundary lines for state legislature and congressional districts should be redrawn.

     In other words, voting “Yes” would allow for more minority party representation on Ohio’s redistricting commission, and voting “No” would leave current laws and processes the same.

     Issue 2 asks voters to decide whether or not to prohibit initiatives that allow market monopolies. This issue plays a role in the third – and most popular – issue: legalizing marijuana.

     If this issue is passed, the medical and recreational use of marijuana will be legal in the state of Ohio. Ohioans over the age of 21 will be permitted to grow up to four flowering plants of marijuana at one time, purchase the plant in retail stores, engage in recreational smoking in private places and use marijuana for medical purposes; selling homegrown marijuana will still be illegal.

     The amendment would then create a Marijuana Control Commission composed of seven members including a physician, law enforcement officer, attorney, members with marijuana production experience and a public member. American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, national NORML and urban Ohio city leaders are in support of Issue 3. Those who oppose Issue 3 include certain medical associations, children's hospitals and politicians.

     One concern that many people hold, regardless of their stance on Issue 3, is the possibility of a massive marijuana monopoly. Those in support of marijuana legalization are against the group that is pushing the initiative: ResponsibleOhio.

     The group specifies only 10 locations in the state may grow and sell the plant. Investors are already paying for those sites.

     This is where Issue 2 and Issue 3 become related. By voting “Yes” on Issue 2, citizens are stating that they do not believe we should create monopolies in the marijuana industry, or any other industry for that matter.

     If Issue 2 and 3 both receive a majority “Yes” vote, the question of which would take precedent could go to the Ohio Supreme Court.

     Currently, polls show that 49% of Ohioans are in support of this issue, 45% oppose it, and 6% still remain undecided.

     As college students, we oftentimes believe that politics do not affect us. This does.

     Regardless of your stance on the issue, it is important that your voice is heard. The decisions we make now affect our future jobs, future society and future family.

     “We live in a beautiful governmental system in which we have the power to speak up about the decisions made in our country,” said Konnor Byers, senior political science major. “It is extremely important for young people to vote, because we are the future.”

     The election will be on Tuesday, November 3, 2015. Absentee voting and other information can be found online at rockthevote.com.

     Engage in your duty as an American citizen and vote.

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