OHIO — Ohioans are considering two measures on the November ballot. Issue 1 would write abortion rights into the state’s constitution and Issue 2 would legalize recreational marijuana.
Gov. Mike DeWine said he believes both measures are wrong for Ohio.
“I think whether you’re pro-choice or pro-life, Issue 1 just goes much, much too far,” DeWine said.
The measure would amend the Ohio constitution to protect reproductive freedom, including access to contraception, fertility treatment and abortion.
DeWine appeared in an ad with his wife, Fran, paid for by Protect Women Ohio, a coalition against Issue 1.
While in office, he signed into a law a statewide ban on abortions after a heartbeat is detected in the fetus, which can occur in as few as six weeks following conception. That ban is currently blocked by a judge.
“We are as a state trying to sort out where a majority of Ohioans are on the issue of abortion,” DeWine said.
He cautioned against amending the state constitution and said voting down the issue would give lawmakers the chance to develop a bill the majority of Ohioans can agree on.
“For example, it’s abundantly clear that a vast majority of Ohioans feel there should be an exception for rape and incest, so that’s one thing that would certainly have to be in anything that we would come up with after this,” he said.
But Desiree Tims, president and CEO of Innovation Ohio, said a majority of Ohioans support having reproductive rights, with limits on abortions when a fetus reaches viability.
“Parents, families, spouses, family members, they want to makes sure that when they have a need, at home or in the hospital room, that politicians aren’t sitting next to them in the chair,” she said.
According to a recent Baldwin Wallace poll, 58% of likely voters plan to support Issue 1 at the polls, a number that includes nearly 40% of Republicans.
DeWine is also against Issue 2 and said legalized recreational marijuana created a dangerous situation in other states that have similar legislation. He cited an increase in kids accidentally ingesting edible cannabis products and accidents involving people driving under the influence.
“I don’t think the little bit of money that this will generate to the state of Ohio is worth the damage to the people of Ohio,” he said.
Tom Haren, spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, refuted the governor’s claim’s.
“What’s dangerous is to allow drug dealers in Ohio to continue to have a monopoly on the adult-use marijuana market,” he said.
Haren said a study by Ohio State University estimated more than $400 million a year in tax revenue would be generated by marijuana sales and said Issue 2 would build off the standards already in place for Ohio’s current medical marijuana program, a program DeWine acknowledged as successful.
“We continue to expand it as we find more evidence of how cannabis or some derivative of marijuana can be of assistance to people,” DeWine said. “And so, we’re open to do that.”
But Haren said that doesn’t go far enough in providing access to patients who might benefit from medicinal marijuana, but can’t because of current laws.
“Maybe you’re a veteran suffering from PTSD whose VA doctor is prohibited from issuing a recommendation for medical marijuana because of federal law,” he said.
The same Baldwin Wallace poll showed 57% of likely voters plan to support Issue 2.
Election Day is Nov. 7.