Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment supported, joins Freedom to Marry and Ohio Workplace Freedom as party goals
COLUMBUS—The Libertarian Party of Ohio Monday announces its endorsement the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment, which will allow Ohio voters in 2014 to re-legalize both the use of marijuana for therapeutic purposes and the use of industrial hemp.The move makes the LPO the only statewide political party in Ohio to endorse and campaign for all—or indeed any—of the three “Ohio Liberty Amendments” likely to be before voters in November 2014.The LPO has previously endorsed both the Ohio Workplace Freedom Amendment and the Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment, and its candidates and supporters are helping to gather petition signatures to ensure that Ohio voters will have the chance to greatly increase individual liberty in the Buckeye State by bypassing politicians in the state house who have refused to act on these three vital issues in spite of widespread public support..
“I’m very glad we decided to endorse all three of these important measures,” said LPO Political Director Bob Bridges. “Not only will each expand the recognized rights of Ohioans, they help form a strong base on which Libertarian candidates can stand up for Ohioans and stand out from the two 19th century parties that have a stranglehold on our state government.”
In passing the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment, Ohio would join 20 other states and the District of Columbia in recognizing the right of people to possess, grow and use marijuana for therapeutic purposes. The amendment would also re-legalize the production of non-psychoactive cannabis, or industrial hemp, in Ohio. Industrial hemp is useful in producing a wide range of products, including clothing, paper, and fuel. The Ohio Rights Group, which sponsors the measure, estimates that beyond its compassionate effect, the amendment would also create a billion-dollar industry in the state for the production of both medical marijuana and industrial hemp.
According to Mary Jane Borden of the Ohio Rights Group, several polls conducted in the last few years show consistent support from more than 60 percent of voters for the measures in the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment.
“The Ohio Workplace Freedom Amendment guarantees Ohioans have a choice in whether or not they join a labor union and pay dues or fees at their place of work as a condition of employment,” according to the website of Ohioans for Workplace Freedom, the organization sponsoring this amendment. Currently, Ohio is a “closed shop” or—more accurately stated—a “forced union” state. This means that in order to take a job in a union-organized shop, an employee can be compelled to join the union or pay it dues and fees. The amendment would not ban unions or prevent them from organizing or bargaining with employers, but it would allow a person the right to work at a job without having to pay for the privilege.
The Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment simply recognizes the right of two people to choose to marry each other in the state of Ohio without regard to their gender or sexual identity. It also guarantees that religious institutions will remain free to decide their own policies on so-called “gay marriage” and protects them should they decide not to perform such ceremonies. The amendment would reverse a clause now in the Ohio Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
The Libertarian Party of Ohio is the state’s third-largest political party and the only one dedicated to the principles of smaller government, lower taxes and more personal liberty for every individual. The LPO has won three federal court cases dealing with ballot access in the last decade, and it had more than 20 candidates on the ballot for U.S. Congress, the statehouse, and county offices on Election Day 2012.
Aaron Keith Harris
LPO Communications Director