Ohio Issues 1 and 2: Deciphering the Future of Abortion and Marijuana Legalization (2023)


In Ohio on November 7, voters face critical decisions on two pivotal social issues: abortion and marijuana legalization. Issue 1 seeks to constitutionally protect the right to abortion, while Issue 2 aims to legalize recreational marijuana for adults aged 21 and older. Delving into the complexities of each matter, this article sheds light on key aspects, providing clarity for voters.

Understanding Ohio Issue 1


Issue 1 proposes to embed the right to an abortion in the state constitution, allowing it until viability, defined as when a fetus can reasonably survive outside the uterus. The scope includes access to contraception, miscarriage care, fertility treatment, and continuing a pregnancy.

Comparing with Roe v. Wade

Both Issue 1 and the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision utilize viability as a benchmark for abortion allowances. Post-viability, abortions are permitted to safeguard the patient's life or health.

Parental Consent Controversy

Critics argue that Issue 1 may allow minors to obtain abortions without parental consent, as it uses the term "individual" instead of "woman." Supporters contend this language is inclusive, and the amendment is silent on parental consent. The fate of Ohio's current parental-consent law hangs in the balance.

Late-Term Abortion Possibility

Issue 1 permits abortions after viability to protect the patient's life or health, raising concerns about late-term abortions. Proponents assert that such instances are exceedingly rare and occur under severe, life-threatening circumstances.

Deciphering Ohio Issue 2

Proposal Overview

Ohio Issue 2 proposes legalizing recreational marijuana for those 21 and older. Individuals could possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis in various forms, with cultivation allowances and a 10% tax for specified purposes.

Public Usage Restrictions

Smoking marijuana would be subject to the state's smoking ban, with exceptions for specific locations. "Public areas" marijuana use could result in a minor misdemeanor, yet property owners and certain public places could decide their stance on accommodating marijuana use.

Social Equity Program

Unlike some states, Issue 2 does not automatically expunge marijuana-related convictions. Instead, it establishes a social equity program to aid individuals disproportionately affected by past marijuana law enforcement, emphasizing race, gender, ethnicity, and economic status.

Legislative Impact

While lawmakers retain the ability to alter or discard the approved version of Issue 2, total repeal seems unlikely. Adjustments to revenue distribution or additional requirements may be explored.

Key Information for Ohio Voters

Early Voting Details

Voters can cast absentee ballots in-person at designated locations with consistent hours leading up to November 7. It's crucial to be informed about the voting process and timelines.

Ohio Voter ID Law

A recent change mandates a photo ID for in-person voting, eliminating utility bills as valid identification. Voters using mail-in ballots must provide a copy of their photo ID, driver's license number, or the last four digits of their Social Security number.

Election Day Information

Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. on November 7. To verify your polling location, view sample ballots, and access additional details, visit voteohio.gov.

In conclusion, Ohio's upcoming decisions on Issues 1 and 2 are pivotal, shaping the state's stance on abortion and marijuana legalization. As voters navigate these complex issues, understanding the nuances becomes paramount to making informed decisions on November 7.


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