Indianapolis, Indiana – November 7, 2023
Ohioans made two significant decisions at the ballot box today, voting in favor of both marijuana legalization and reproductive freedom. These landmark measures, known as Issue 2 and Issue 1 respectively, have sparked a response from House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne), who commented on their implications for Indiana.
In a groundbreaking move, Ohio voters approved Issue 2, paving the way for the legalization, regulation, and taxation of adult-use marijuana products. These products will be subject to a 10% tax on top of existing state and county sales tax, with an expected revenue generation in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The resulting funds will be allocated to support job creation, municipal development, and drug treatment and prevention programs in at-risk communities, according to GiaQuinta.
GiaQuinta was quick to react to this development, stating, “A growing number of Hoosiers are crossing the Illinois and Michigan border to buy marijuana. With today’s vote by Ohioans, Hoosiers will soon visit Ohio to buy it as well. Indiana is missing out on jobs, tax revenue and economic development. How will Hoosier growers and small businesses compete in this growing market if Indiana does not legalize cannabis soon?”
Furthermore, he pointed to the success of Michigan in 2022, which collected $325 million from marijuana sales, funding roads and public education. GiaQuinta emphasized the missed opportunities by saying, “By not legalizing marijuana, we’re paying for Michigan’s public schools and roads when we could be funding our own. Let’s get with the 85% of Hoosiers who support legalizing recreational or medical marijuana and jumpstart this economic development opportunity for our state.”
Simultaneously, Ohio voters showed support for reproductive freedom by approving Issue 1, which amends the state constitution to establish an “individual right to one’s own reproductive medical treatment, including but not limited to abortion.” This amendment grants Ohioans freedoms that were previously restricted by their state legislature and governor.
Responding to Ohioans’ resounding support for reproductive freedom and choice, GiaQuinta highlighted the shared sentiments between Ohio and Indiana. “Midwesterners don’t like the government telling them what they can and can’t do, plain and simple. This includes reproductive freedom. Ohio and Indiana both lean conservative, yet when given a choice, Ohioans voted for the right to choose.”
He further noted a difference in the constitutional provisions between the two states, pointing out, “Currently, the Indiana Constitution does not grant Hoosiers the right to citizen-led ballot initiatives. To truly represent Hoosiers and grant them a voice, Indiana lawmakers must enshrine the right to be heard at the ballot box in our constitution.”