Statement on Issue 3

Posted below you will find the report on the position taken by the Ohio Council of Churches regarding ballot Issue 3, the Constitutional Amendment regarding marijuana. This statement also represents my views on Issue 3.

The Diocese of Southern Ohio is represented at the two meetings per year of the Ohio Council of Churches by the Rev. Anne Reed, Canon for Mission, and by the Rev. Cn. Manoj Zacharia, our diocesan Ecumenical Officer.

The Ohio Council of Churches Statement: Vote ‘No’ on Issue 3

The Governing Board of the Ohio Council of Churches voted ‘No’ on Issue 3 at their meeting on October 14, 2015.

We believe that all people are created in the image of God and in the sanctity of life. Because of our commonly held values, it is important for us to speak against Issue 3.

We oppose the constitutional amendment proposed by Issue 3 as not appropriate. Drug policy and the identification of business opportunities should be managed through the Ohio Revised Code, not the Constitution.

We oppose the proposed amendment because it provides for a business monopoly for particular investors while creating a significant economic disadvantage for those who would be encouraged to purchase marijuana.

We oppose Issue 3 because the proliferation of marijuana will adversely impact the population, especially infants and children. This occurs primarily through edible marijuana-laced products that children would be inclined to ingest because of their appeal, and through second hand smoke.

While we oppose this amendment to the Constitution we recognize the need to address the reality that minority communities are disproportionately affected by drug addiction and incarceration related to illegal use of drugs. We appeal to Ohio citizens to consider the implications of drug policies on all communities.

The Ohio Council of Churches is composed of 18 member denominations. One declined to be included in this vote: The Ohio Fellowship of Community Churches.