Editorial roundup

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Sept. 20

It’s been almost three months since the U.S. Supreme Court announced its 5-4 decision legalizing gay marriage, building on the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protection of the laws” to strike down the definition in some states, including Ohio, of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Now come the several lawyers who participated in the Ohio portion of the litigation, requesting that the state’s taxpayers pick up the $1.72 million tab in legal fees and expenses- a number that includes a 50 percent bonus because the case “resulted in a landmark Supreme Court decision.”

Similar requests have been filed by attorneys for the Kentucky and Michigan plaintiffs in the combined case.

If this compensation is granted by U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black- whose ruling the Supreme Court upheld in deciding the case -it will be a bitter pill for many Ohioans to swallow. But it appears that the law is on the plaintiffs’ side.

The request relies on a 1976 civil rights law that provides for the awarding of legal fees- including “reasonable” attorneys’ fees -to plaintiffs who prevail in civil rights cases. The intent was to empower people whose civil rights had been violated to seek justice in the courts without facing an insurmountable financial burden…

Online: http://bit.ly/1KuCKil

The (Tiffin) Advertiser-Tribune, Sept. 17

In the battle over ballot language for State Issue 3, the proposed marijuana amendment, both sides have claimed victory.

And each side did emerge partially victorious.

On Sept. 16, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled four parts of the ballot wording were misleading. The Ohio Ballot Board must meet to revise the ballot language for the four paragraphs before early balloting starts Oct. 6.

That’s a win for ResponsibleOhio, which brought the proposal before voters.

But the synopsis voters will read first- that Issue 3 “Grants a monopoly for the commercial production and sale of marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes” -can stay, a victory for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.

The four sections to be changed concern buffer zones around marijuana establishments, growing and transporting pot by adults, retail marijuana shops and additional pot production sites.

Those are important points. But the key drawback to the proposed amendment- even to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws -involves the exclusive rights that would be granted to owners of 10 parcels of land for marijuana production.

“Today, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed with me, the dictionary, common sense and many news publications across our state that State Issue 3 would create a marijuana monopoly in Ohio and that the voters deserve to be given that information before casting their ballots,” Husted stated after the ruling was announced.

That alone is enough to defeat Issue 3 in the general election.

Online: http://bit.ly/1NH8epK