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The student voice of Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio

The Leaf

The student voice of Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio

The Leaf

The student voice of Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio

The Leaf

What Now?

How Ohio will proceed in the aftermath of the passage of Issues 1 and 2

Tuesday, Nov.7, 2023, marked the passage of revolutionary issues in the Ohio constitution: Ohio State Issues 1 and 2. While important for Ohio, this was historic for all of the U.S. as well. Ohio is the seventh state, as well as the first Republican-led state, to enshrine abortion rights in the Constitution, and the 24th state to legalize recreational marijuana. These issues set a precedent for other states in future elections to follow.


Issue 1

   Issue 1 establishes the Constitutional right to abortion, giving individuals the right to “make and carry out one’s own reproductive medical treatment,” thus including contraceptives as well, protecting the bodily autonomy of those with a uterus. The state legislature is still able to ban abortion after fetal viability (about 23 weeks) unless a physician deems the procedure as a necessary measure to protect the patient’s life. The amendment will also protect medical professionals from legal punishment who assist in reproductive medical treatment. 56.6% of voters voted “yes” on Issue 1.

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   This issue does not truly go into effect until Dec. 7, 2023. Up until then, many of Ohio’s 31 abortion restrictions (passed since 2011) will be challenged in court. However, the Republican-led legislature has plans to block or stall these processes. 

    After Dec. 7, the new law will take effect, permanently blocking Ohio’s previous 6-week abortion ban (currently held in litigation). This will be true with many other restrictions because constitutional amendments—which Issue 1 is—supersede regular state laws. 

   However, even just two weeks after the general election, many plans circulated to overturn Issue 1. Ohio House of Representatives speaker, Jason Stephens, claimed previously that “This is not the end of the conversation,” hinting at plans to attempt to restrict abortion access as much as possible still, although he declined to comment following the election. This includes possibilities of lawmakers trying to repeal the amendment, challenging it under the equal protection clause, and putting the issue back on the ballot. There is also the possible event that the application of the amendment is argued on a case-by-case basis. However many attempts the GOP makes, regardless, will not change the fact that Issue 1 is in our Constitution. Experts claim the challenges are all highly unlikely to succeed. Abortion providers will, however, most likely face challenges in getting back up and functioning from the GOP legislature. 

   Governor Mike DeWine expressed his acceptance of the issue’s passage in a recent press release, despite his opposing beliefs to the amendment, emphasizing that the vote of the state takes precedence over personal opinion. 

   The amendment will take effect soon in Ohio’s Constitution, and consequently be difficult for the GOP to overturn.


Issue 2

   Issue 2 legalized the use of recreational marijuana. Adults 21 and older will soon be able to buy, possess, cultivate, manufacture, and grow specified amounts of cannabis. This is an initiated statute, meaning it will become part of the Ohio Revised Code. This will also occur on Dec. 7, 2023. 57.0% of voters voted “yes” on Issue 2.

    Cannabis distribution will be treated much like alcohol. The dispensaries and sales will be highly regulated by Ohio’s government. The Division of Cannabis Control within the Ohio Department of Commerce will “regulate, investigate, and penalize adult-use cannabis operators, adult-use testing laboratories, and individuals required to be licensed” under the language of the law. The Department of Commerce has nine months to finalize the rules and regulations and then issue dispensaries’ licenses. Granting licenses will most likely not happen until Aug. 2024, so we will likely not see local dispensaries popping up until this summer.

   However, since this is a law, it will be treated far differently from Issue 1. Legislators have the full power to change and/or repeal it, which is exactly what GOP Senate President, Matt Huffman, plans to do. 

   The passage of Issue 2 will also be a huge generator of revenue for the state of Ohio. It will be taxed at an additional 10%, thus 17% together due to sales tax, making it the highest taxed commodity in Ohio.


   In the coming days, we will see huge changes in our laws and regulations, as per the results of the recent election. Ohio voters have made their decisions, not only for their own state but setting an example for future elections in others. 


Photo Creds: Nappy through Creative Commons









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About the Contributor
Tillie Berge, deputy content editor
Hi! My name is Tillie Berge, and I am a junior at SHS. This is my third year in journalism and I am currently the deputy content editor and lead copy editor. As a content editor, I consult with writers on their writing processes and read through each article before it is published. As a copy editor, I look for more grammatical and structural things that could be fixed in each article. I joined the class freshman year purely out of a love for writing and reading. As a plus, my writing has majorly improved over the past two years. A main reason for my return, however, was the uniqueness of the class. Just by walking in the classroom, you can see that it is not your typical individual desk, whiteboards filled with equations, run-of-the-mill classroom. I get the privilege of working with many different amazing upper and lowerclassmen, who all collaborate to write and produce The Leaf once a month. Outside of school, I run cross country and play club soccer. I am also a member of the Fashion for the Cure committee at SHS. My absolute favorite thing to do, however, is hanging out with my friends and family. All-in-all, this class is an eye-opening experience to what producing a newspaper is like and gives me the opportunity to reach many people with my ideas and opinions. I hope you like my writing, and I encourage you to join journalism as well! Go Aves!