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Two of six local state lawmakers speak on pot legalization

By | Columbus Exchange | No Comments

Of the six state legislators in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, only two were willing to give their opinion on legalization of marijuana. Matt Hawout has more.

MATT HAWOUT: A recent poll by Columbus Exchange: Politics in Question focuses on legalization of marijuana. Reporters from The News Outlet contacted every legislator in the state to ask if they would support a bill legalizing pot for both recreational and marijuana use.

SEN. JOE SCHIAVONI: I would be hesitant to vote for a bill that would legalize marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes. If it was solely for medicinal purposes, I would be inclined to vote for the bill.

HAWOUT: That’s Democratic Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman. Sen. Capri Cafaro of Hubbard, also a Democrat, opposes legalization because marijuana isn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

HAWOUT: Eight of the 24 legislators who answered say they would be willing to legalize medical use.

SCHIAVONI: I think that most people think that’s probably sensible, but to just open it up and say we’re going to have recreational marijuana in the state of Ohio, is a whole different ballgame.

HAWOUT: Not responding were representatives Ron Gerberry, Michele Lepore-Hagan, Sean O’Brien and Michael O’Brien. For The News Outlet dot org, I’m Matt Hawout.

TheNewsOutlet.org is a collaborative effort among the Youngstown State University journalism program, The University of Akron and The University of Cincinnati, and professional media outlets including, WYSU-FM Radio and The Vindicator (Youngstown), The Beacon Journal and Rubber City Radio (Akron).

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Pro-pot groups gamble on off-year ballot initiatives

By | Columbus Exchange | No Comments

Two plans to legalize marijuana may make it on the November ballot. Matt Hawout of The News Outlet tells us why these groups are making the push in an off election year.

MATT HAWOUT: Two marijuana initiatives are battling to get on the November ballot. Both ResponsibleOhio and the Ohio Rights Group are pushing constitutional amendments to legalize medical and recreational use.

WILLIAM BINNING: They’ve got a big task ahead of them.

HAWOUT: That’s William Binning, a professor in political science at Youngstown State University.

BINNING: The tendency of Ohio voters on statewide issues is they tend to vote “no.”

HAWOUT: And, this is an off-year election. Cryshanna Jackson Leftwich is a professor at YSU’s Department of Politics and International Relations.

CRYSHANNA A. JACKSON LEFTWICH: You always have a lower turnout rate when it’s an off – not a presidential election year.

HAWOUT: Binning says this can become a headache for proposal backers.

BINNING: You have an older population here. There’re not into marijuana. You want to get a big turnout of younger voters and they are the least likely voters. So, what you want to do is somehow stir them up, without stirring everybody up.

HAWOUT: For TheNewsOutlet.org, I’m Matt Hawout.

TheNewsOutlet.org is a collaborative effort among the Youngstown State University journalism program, The University of Akron and The University of Cincinnati, and professional media outlets including, WYSU-FM Radio and The Vindicator (Youngstown), The Beacon Journal and Rubber City Radio (Akron).

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Direct Democracy in Action

By | Archives, Columbus Exchange, Sidebar | No Comments

TheNewsOutlet.org

Whether it’s called “direct democracy” or “citizen-initiated amendment,” there is a way for residents to change a state’s constitution. This is the path three pro-pot proponents are taking to get marijuana legalized in Ohio.

Following is the step-by-step process the proposed amendment must take.

  • Proposed amendment is written and summarized.
  • Petition drive seeks 1,000 valid signatures.
  • Petition and amendment proposal (full text and summary) is sent to Attorney General.
  • AG reviews wording to determine if it is a “fair and truthful statement” of the proposed amendment. If so, AG certifies the documents
  • Ohio Secretary of State’s office’s Ballot Board then reviews the documents to determine that it is only one proposed law. If so, they certify the documents.
  • Petition drive begins to seek 305,591 valid signatures. (The number is 10 percent of the vote in the 2014 gubernatorial election).
  • Signatures must be from 44 of the 88 counties in Ohio.
  • In each of those 44 counties, the total number of signatures must be equal to 5 percent of the local vote in the 2014 gubernatorial election.
  • Signatures are due by July 1 to get the amendment on the Nov. 3 ballot.
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FOX19 Investigates: Cincinnati slow to enforce smoke detector law

By | Community | No Comments

The News Outlet’s newest partner The University of Cincinnati teamed with Hagit Limor, an award-winning investigative journalist and assistant professor at UC, for an investigation into the city’s slow response to enforce a law requiring the installation of photoelectric smoke detectors in rental units. The report, which aired on WXIX-FOX 19 in Cincinnati, included a spot check by students in the Electronic Media Division and Journalism Department. The students visited 87 rental units. Of those, they found only 17 had the required smoke detectors and six had no detectors at all. Also, the city isn’t tracking landlord compliance.

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