On November 3, Ohio voters rejected a ballot amendment that would have legalized the sale and use of marijuana and authorized its production at 10 commercial facilities in the state. A survey conducted by Bowling Green State University two weeks before the election had found the race "too close to call," with 44 percent supporting the measure and 43 percent opposing it. In fact, it lost by a 28-point margin-yet another failure by pollsters to correctly predict an electoral outcome.
Many legalization advocates opposed the Ohio amendment, thanks to the perception of cronyism around giving exclusive commercial growing rights to a small number of well-connected investors. Still, many activists wonder whether the defeat portends a shift in the national mood, which until then seemed to be running in favor of pot legalization. Currently, marijuana can be openly purchased in four states (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington) and the District of Columbia. A number of additional jurisdictions have decriminalized the substance or permitted its use for medical but not recreational purposes. In 2016, voters will decide whether to approve full legalization initiatives in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada.
Some 58 percent of Americans support such a move, according to Gallup. That's up from just 34 percent 15 years ago.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Up in Smoke".