Ohio voters made history on Tuesday by approving two ballot measures that will protect abortion rights and legalize recreational marijuana use in the state. The results of the election reflect a shift in public opinion on these issues and a rejection of the conservative agenda pushed by former President Donald Trump and his allies.
Issue 1, which will enshrine the right to reproductive care, including access to abortion, into the state constitution, passed with 56% of the vote, according to CNN. The amendment will prevent any future laws or regulations that would restrict or ban abortion in Ohio, even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. Ohio is the first state to adopt such a constitutional amendment, which was backed by a coalition of women’s rights groups, health care providers, and civil rights organizations.
Issue 2, which will create a new law legalizing and regulating recreational marijuana use for adults 21 and older, passed with 53% of the vote, according to NBC News. The law will allow Ohioans to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants at home. It will also establish a system of licensed cultivation, processing, testing, and retail facilities, as well as a 15% tax on marijuana sales. The revenue from the tax will be used to fund education, health care, infrastructure, and social justice programs. Ohio is the 19th state to legalize recreational marijuana, joining a growing national trend of cannabis reform.
The passage of both issues is a major victory for progressive activists and advocates, who have been campaigning for years to expand access to abortion and end the prohibition of marijuana. They argue that these policies will improve the health, safety, and well-being of Ohioans, especially women, people of color, and low-income communities who have been disproportionately harmed by the status quo. They also claim that these policies will boost the state’s economy, create jobs, and generate revenue.
The defeat of both issues is a significant blow for conservative politicians and groups, who have been trying to restrict or ban abortion and marijuana in Ohio and across the country. They contend that these policies will endanger the lives of unborn children, increase substance abuse and addiction, and undermine the moral fabric of society. They also warn that these policies will invite legal challenges, federal intervention, and public backlash.
The results of the election also have implications for the 2024 presidential race, as Ohio is a key swing state that could determine the outcome of the electoral college. The approval of abortion rights and marijuana legalization could signal a shift in the political landscape of Ohio, which has been leaning Republican in recent years. In 2016 and 2020, Trump won Ohio by eight and nine points, respectively. However, in 2023, Democrat Joe Biden narrowly lost Ohio by less than one point, suggesting that the state is still competitive. The success of these progressive ballot measures could indicate that Ohio voters are more open to Democratic candidates and policies, or at least more independent and unpredictable than previously thought