COLUMBUS (AP) — In a single stroke, Ohio voters rejected a ballot proposal Tuesday to legalize marijuana for both recreational and medical use.
Failure of the proposed state constitutional amendment followed an expensive campaign, a legal fight over its ballot wording and an investigation into the proposal’s petition signatures.
The measure known as Issue 3 ballot would have allowed adults 21 and older to use, purchase or grow certain amounts of marijuana. The constitutional amendment would have established a regulatory and taxation scheme while creating a network of 10 growing facilities. That feature was a target of opponents as well as a separate ballot question aimed at preventing monopolies from being inserted into Ohio’s constitution for the economic benefits of a few.
In Shelby County, voters overwhelmingly defeated legalizing marijuana, with nearly 75 percent of the vote against the issue. By the numbers: 11,189 against; 3,785 votes for.
The pro-legalization ResponsibleOhio campaign spent at least $12 million on ads. But it faced opposition from a well-organized, diverse coalition of opponents that includes children’s hospitals, business organizations and farmers.
Critics said the proposal’s arrangement would amount to an economic monopoly designed for personal gain.
Turnout was low as early presidential politicking largely overshadowed campaigns and exacerbated voter disinterest that generally accompanies an off-year election.
At 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, boards of election offices across the state received an email from Ohio Secretary of State Jon Hustead requesting that results were not to be released until after 9 p.m., due to a 90-minute extension approved for voters in Hamilton County. Earlier Tuesday, voters in Hamilton County were experiencing issues when casting ballots. The group ResponsibleOhio filed a lawsuit late Tuesday requesting the extension.
As of press time, state Issue 1 was passing 71 percent to 29 percent. In Shelby County, voters passed Issue 1 with 9,612 votes for to 4,588 votes against.
State Issue 1 creates a bi-partisan, public process for drawing legislative districts.
As of press time, state Issue 2 was passing 52 percent to 47 percent. Shelby County voters also passed Issue 2, with 8,804 votes for to 6,017 against. Issue 2 is an anti-monopoly amendment that protects the initiative process from being used for personal economic benefit.