Why Pot Legalization Lost In Ohio; It Could Re-Emerge Next Year


Issue 3, the proposed Ohio marijuana monopoly that suffered a jaw-dropping loss last week at the polls, could resurface in another form as soon as next year, says the Northeast Ohio Media Group. Even the liberal citadel of Oberlin voted against Issue 3. Still, “it took the casinos five times” over almost 20 years to win Ohio voters’ approval, said lobbyist Neil Clark. Among his many clients is the ResponsibleOhio Political Action Committee, the outfit backing Issue 3. Asked how likely another statewide marijuana ballot issue is in Ohio, Clark said “90 percent.” Meanwhile, both Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly are talking about legalizing medical marijuana. If they do, it could deflate some of the potential oomph behind a future Issue 3.

Issue 3 failed because turnout in Ohio’s big cities was less than ResponsibleOhio had estimated, Clark said. It narrowly carried Cleveland, by 52.9 percent. From the get-go, Issue’s 3 ballot wording, which correctly used the word “monopoly” to describe the marijuana set-up that Issue 3 proposed, was a voting booth handicap. Then there was Issue 3’s perceived ban on all homegrown marijuana. Issue 3 was plenty complex. A simple yes/no question on plain-vanilla marijuana legalization might have won. Something written in law-school pidgin did not.

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