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Sherrod Brown takes stance on Issue 2 while JD Vance remains silent ahead of Election Day

JD Vance
Jay LaPrete
Republican U.S. Sen.-elect JD Vance speaks during an election night party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio.

One Ohio U.S. Senator is taking a stance on the ballot question aiming to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio, while the other is remaining silent on the issue.

Senator Sherrod Brown announced late last week after voting early that he and his wife voted "yes" on both Issues 1 and 2, breaking weeks of indecision on whether he would support legalizing recreational marijuana. Brown posted on social media Issue 2 was a harder choice to make than Issue 1, which aims to protect abortion and reproductive healthcare in Ohio.

"We believe this healthcare decision should be made by a woman and her doctor. Not by a bunch of politicians in Columbus. We also voted yes on Issue 2," Brown said.

Brown's Republican counterpart JD Vance has remained silent and has not responded to repeated requests from WOSU for comment on Issue 2 in over a month.

Issue 2 is being supported by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. It could legalize and regulate recreational marijuana within the state. This includes cultivation, processing, sale, purchase, possession and home growth of marijuana for adults age 21 or above, according to the ballot language.

If voters say yes, Ohio could become the 24th state to legalize recreational marijuana.

While Issue 1 is a constitutional amendment, Issue 2 is an initiated statute that would change Ohio Revised Code and could be subjected to changes by the Republican-controlled Ohio General Assembly.

The Ohio Republican Party is urging voters to vote against both ballot questions while the Ohio Democratic Party has only endorsed a "Yes" vote on the abortion rights constitutional amendment.

The Ohio Democratic Party Chair Liz Walters said on "The State of Ohio" weekly news program the lack of support or opposition to Issue 2 is because her party's leadership hasn't made time to meet before the election to vote on a stance. The party is one of the main backers of the abortion rights amendment and helped collect signatures for the measure.

George Shillcock is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. He joined the WOSU newsroom in April 2023 following three years as a reporter in Iowa with the USA Today Network.