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Ohio Voters Overwhelmingly Reject Marijuana Legalization

Issue 3 is defeated by a margin of nearly 2 to 1.

Responsible OhioResponsible Ohio

Today Ohio voters overwhelmingly rejected Issue 3, which would have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use. With 50 percent of precincts reporting, 65 percent of voters were saying no to legal pot. 

Issue 3 would have made Ohio the fifth and most populous state to legalize marijuana, the first state east of the Great Plains to do so, and the first state to jump directly from complete prohibition to legalization for medical and recreational purposes. Legalization in Ohio, a bellwether in presidential elections, could have had a big impact on politicians' willingness to deviate from prohibitionist orthodoxy and voters' willingness to support next year's crop of marijuana initiatives in other states. By the same token, the defeat of Issue 3 could slow the crumbling of pot prohibition across the country.

Prior to the election, Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), worried that a loss in Ohio "might change the national narrative," making it seem like the legalization movement is losing momentum. "That failure will be the only failure in the country," he said, "and then the media will feed on that: 'Oh, my God, legalization is backsliding.'" MPP, which was neutral on Issue 3, is backing legalization measures in five states next year: Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada.

Ohio's most prominent politicians, including Gov. John Kasich, Attorney General Mike DeWine, and Secretary of State Jon Husted, opposed Issue 3, and so did most of the state's editorial boards. But it's not clear whether the rejection of Issue 3 reflects general resistance to legalization or opposition to the initiative's most controversial feature: a cannabis cultivation cartel that would have limited commercial production to 10 sites controlled by the initiative's financial backers. The ballot description highlighted that aspect of the initiative, saying Issue 3 "grants a monopoly for the commercial production and sale of marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes" and would "endow exclusive rights for commercial marijuana growth, cultivation, and extraction to self-designated landowners who own ten predetermined parcels of land."

Anti-pot legislators took advantage of objections to the crony capitalism embodied in Issue 3 by proposing Issue 2, which was designed to block Issue 3 by making it illegal to insert economic privileges into the state constitution. Issue 2 was supported by most voters—52 percent as of 10:15 p.m. Eastern time, with 69 percent of precincts reporting.

Light turnout also was a factor in the defeat of Issue 3. Various polls of registered voters found majority or plurality support for Issue 3, ranging from 44 percent to 56 percent. But support was especially strong among Democrats and younger voters, who are less inclined to vote in off-year elections than Republicans and older voters. 

Mason Tvert, MPP's communications director, notes that "polls show a strong and growing majority of Americans"—58 percent, according to the latest Gallup poll—"think marijuana should be legal." He argues that the 2016 initiatives backed by his organization will "benefit from heightened voter turnout during a presidential election year."

Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, says Ohioans were turned off by Issue 3's cultivation cartel. "The people of Ohio have understandably rejected a deeply flawed, monopolistic approach to marijuana reform that failed to garner broad support from advocates or industry leaders," he says. "This debate has shown that there is a strong base of support for legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana. Now the foundation has been laid for a potential 2016 effort that would put forward a more common-sense initiative and have a major impact on the presidential conversation in the process."

Marijuana Majority's Tom Angell has a similar take. "When it comes to the broader debate about legalizing marijuana, the defeat of Issue 3 won't be a case of 'as Ohio goes, so goes the nation,'" he says. "This was about a flawed measure and a campaign that didn't represent what voters want....Several polls leading up to Election Day showed that a clear majority of Ohioans support legalizing marijuana, but voters won't tolerate this issue being taken over by greedy special interests."

Update: With 76 percent of precincts reporting, Issue 3 is still getting just 35 percent of the vote.

Update II: With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Issue 3 has 36 percent, while Issue 2 has 52 percent.

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  • Ted Levy||

    So how did Issue 2 do?

  • AlmightyJB||

    53/47 For. 51% of the vote so still too close to call.

  • AlmightyJB||

    It has it's own Issues.

  • AlmightyJB||

    It's been called as passing

    http://www.10tv.com/content/se.....index.html

  • ||

    I can't say I object to having a law that makes it illegal to insert economic privileges into the state constitution.

  • Brendan||

    Nevada's legalization vote failed 61/39 in 2002 and failed again 55/45 in 2006, and it wasn't taken as some harbinger of doom for the movmement.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I have no doubt it would have done better without the monopoly provision. As Nick said earlier, it's inevitable.

  • SIV||

    Having to register with the government to grow no more than 4 plants and posess "up to" a half ozis even worse than giving some ex-boy band guy a $Billion monopoly.

  • ThomasD||

    Agreed. Allowing the establishment of a government sanctioned cartel in order to obtain such very limited permission is hardly a fair bargain.

    As a model it would only encourage further erosion of our rights - essentially putting government in the business of criminalizing everything and then selling it back to you piecemeal.

  • Suicidy||

    True. It was a shitty way to legalize it. Lots of over regulation and cronyism. I would have voted against it too. Just like I did for some of the same reasons when I-502 was passed here in WA.

  • SIV||

    This debate has shown that there is a strong base of support for legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana.

    DC avoided the "tax and regulate" shit for the most part and it passed.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I get the political/marketing need to package it that way, but it really makes my skin crawl.

  • SIV||

    DC should be the model. Legalize use, possession, cultivation and non-remunerative distribution first.

  • Rhywun||

    Ditto. The more I read about this, the more I would vote against it.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I voted for it. It wasn't good but it was better than what we have. Yeah, the monopoly sucks put it's not exactly the Mexican Drug Cartel either. I'd rather have ended the prohibition today.

  • Sevo||

    "Anti-pot legislators took advantage of objections to the crony capitalism embodied in Issue 3 by proposing Issue 2, which was designed to block Issue 3 by making it illegal to insert economic privileges into the state constitution. Issue 2 was supported by 53 percent of voters."

    Certainly as dishonest as any Bo 'argument', but it might be a warning to avoid the 'we will legalize it but will pull out in time' cleverness in prop 3; to clever by half.

  • SIV||

    It's looks like you'll have to keep your dick out of the ladies' room in Houston.

    Not a good night for the Cosmotarian Moment.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Patriarchy! Oh...wait

  • MSimon||

    Petriarchy is next.

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    Use of the word "cosmotarian" should be punished by having to listen to SugarFree narrate his latest Hillary/Trump slash fic.

  • Notorious UGCC||

    So, uttering the word "cosmotarian" should be a capital offense?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    But can the ladies visit me at the urinal? Tell me that a go!

  • MSimon||

    I believe the voters rejected monopoly. Good.

  • Rich||

    Yep: a cannabis cultivation cartel that would have limited commercial production to 10 sites controlled by the initiative's financial backers.

  • Sevo||

    OT, but what more can you say about the hypocrites in OH?
    Sports team buys land for stadium, pays for construction of same, pays for improved public transit, and busy-bodies gripe:

    "The plan was not without its detractors, though they were few, as a handful of speakers — representatives of the Mission Bay Alliance, a group of former UCSF administrators and donors who oppose the project — took to the podium to denounce the plan.
    Among them was Susan Brandt-Hawley, a lawyer representing the alliance, who called into question whether approval of the report was being hurried through at the expense of considering the environmental ramifications of the plan.
    “The public looks to this commission to follow environmental laws to the letter, and approvals are being rushed through,” she said. “We ask that you take time to reconsider.”
    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/.....608514.php

    Amazingly, the 'Commission for 5-year Plans' (or whatever they call themselves) approve the plan! In SF!

  • Alice Bowie||

    KEEP DOPE ALIVE !!!

    I also believe the voters rejected crony capitalism as CERTAIN farmers would have a monopoly.

    Had that provision not existed, perhaps the vote would not had been so crazy.

  • Sevo||

    This from a guy who thinks the Manhattan Project was "Free Market" (his caps).
    So you can take is as you wish...

  • Alice Bowie||

    It was. Several Nuclear Bomb Contractors submitted independent bids on a level playing field.

  • Suicidy||

    I would have rejected it on the basis that faggoty piece of shit Nick Lachey was going to benefit from the monopoly aspect of it. I hope this cost him big. Fucking piece of shit.

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    Kentucky voted for a horrible candidate (Bevin) for governor, rejecting a horrible candidate (Conway).

  • Rooster||

    The spectre of Kim Davis casts a long shadow.

  • Notorious UGCC||

    The NYT and Washington Post seem to blame Obama's unpopularity.

  • Rooster||

  • gary47290||

    On the other hand, Ohio has state package stores, which are private contractors granted a local franchise to sell distilled spirits.

    The Buckeye state is quite familiar with monopolies, and maybe their experience with poor selection and high prices for booze impacted their willingness to repeat the mistake with pot.

  • Copernicus would chip||

    Dude, it would have passed but the stoners were too lazy to vote, Dude.

  • AlmightyJB||

    That was today? Shit! Wait what were we talking about?

  • Copernicus would chip||

    I was gonna go vote, but then I ......

  • GILMORE™||

    I've always thought of Ohio as being - symbolically, at least - the "lamest state in America"

    It was an impression regularly enforced by things like the alarming percentage of people wearing Dockers at the Columbus airport... asking at a downtown Cincinnati hotel to recommend someplace cool to hang out and have a beer. - and they got out a map and started giving directions to someplace in a different city (on the other side of the river at least)... the way people seem to behave that gives the impression they think "Vanilla" is an 'ethnic flavor'... just a variety of subtle things.

    This vote seals this impression in a way i would have never imagined.

    For the love of christ = they asked voters if they wanted to be free to get high....

    ....and they go.... "Ehhhhh, not really?" They deserve themselves.

  • Rhywun||

    I've never given a single thought in my life to Ohio until the Wall Street firm I've worked at for 15 years got acquired by a bigger company based in Cleveland.

  • GILMORE™||

    " Ohioans were turned off by Issue 3's cultivation cartel. "The people of Ohio have understandably rejected a deeply flawed, monopolistic approach to marijuana reform that failed to garner broad support from advocates or industry leaders," he says. "This debate has shown that there is a strong base of support for legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana. Now the foundation has been laid for a potential 2016 effort that would put forward a more common-sense initiative"

    (Sigh)

    OK, *Fiiiiiiiine*. You had a reason. And the chili isn't *awful*. But seriously, though... you guys were supposed to be the place that brought the world THIS, and THIS and THIS. I sometimes find that hard to believe anymore.

  • SIV||

    I like that chili spaghetti, with a chili dog for desert. I hate going to Ohio but when I'm there I take consolation in the chili.

  • Sevo||

    "chili dog"?!
    That's a "cony" to you, pal!
    Seriously, there were many local chili parlors (that's what they were called), many individually O/O'd. Folks would claim the one on Montana was better than the one on Werk, but it was more a question of convenience.
    When I was there and spending evenings on the D/Gas car, we used to stop by the one on Montana on the way home; long gone.

  • ||

    You boys are monsters!

    That shit is NOT chili, it is fucking goulash, and it is an abomination before God.

  • Sevo||

    Phffffft!
    Just had 3-way last night; looking forward to conys.

  • Sevo||

    "OK, *Fiiiiiiiine*. You had a reason. And the chili isn't *awful*. But seriously, though... you guys were supposed to be the place that brought the world THIS, and THIS and THIS. I sometimes find that hard to believe anymore."

    G, I know it's fly-over and therefor suspect to newyawkers, but you might consider that CA bailed on a lot less restrictive measure some years back. And how's NY doing on legalization?
    And Cinti did bring this http://www.bing.com/images/sea.....ajaxhist=0 to the world. It may not be as important as a warbler or two, but maybe it is.

  • GILMORE™||

    "G, I know it's fly-over and therefor suspect to newyawkers,

    No = i've been doing business in flyoverland for 2 decades, and my view of Ohio is based on a sampling of lots of medium-sized midwestern cities.

    " but you might consider that CA bailed on a lot less restrictive measure some years back. And how's NY doing on legalization?"

    Yes. But i've been pointing out forever that "liberal" NY and CA are among the least friendly to *actual* drug-liberalization laws. They're more likely to go slowly and step by step, whereas i think a state like OH should have been far easier to get something done.

    I do note that the restrictiveness issue is a legit reason below.

  • Sevo||

    Sorta passed on the 'warblers' comparison there, dinja?

  • GILMORE™||

    I don't understand what your point is about the machinery if that's what you mean.

  • MSimon||

    They should have been wearing longshoremen.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    ". asking at a downtown Cincinnati hotel to recommend someplace cool to hang out and have a beer. - and they got out a map and started giving directions to someplace in a different city (on the other side of the river at least)"

    Ft. Thomas, ky. Its not just another town, it's another state. My sister used to live there and downtown cinci is one of the most collosally boring places on the planet.

  • AlmightyJB||

    You haven't been there for a while then. They've really revitalized the downtown area. We were just down there for a weekend earlier this year. Plenty of cool bars, restaurants and other things to do now. Even Over-the-Rhine area which you wouldn't have wanted to step foot in years ago has some nice little spots to hang out. And that is without having to go across the river which to be fair is really just part of the greater Cincinnati metro area even though it's KY. I mean, it's not Chicago, but it's not Mayberry either.

  • Sevo||

    Diane or Paul,
    Cinti had, oh, ten locally-brewed beers in the '50s and '60s. And boch beer when they drained the vats. Until the FDA said 'only Ss/S vats!', and the locals were bought by Anheuser Busch, etc.
    You might even blame the federal gov't...

  • AlmightyJB||

    They're making a comeback. In fact, I can get some Cincinnati brewed beers like Rhinegeist and MadTree on tap in Columbus now.

  • GILMORE™||

    "Ft. Thomas, ky. Its not just another town, it's another state. My sister used to live there and downtown cinci is one of the most collosally boring places on the planet."

    yeah. That was the place. I looked at the guy like he was crazy and he just shrugged and said, "it is what it is bro". At the time (about 10 years ago) the very-few restaurants would close around 10pm because the place was dead.

  • ThomasD||

    "...free to get high..."

    Inigo Montoya please pick up the white courtesy phone.

  • MSimon||

    For the love of christ = they asked voters if they wanted to be free to get high....

    On cartel weed. Evidently cartels are unpopular in Ohio.

  • GamerFromJump||

    Okay, they had their chance, time to force the issue the way we want it.

    /courts, according to libthink

  • Krabappel||

    I would love for courts to decide that the Federal government's prohibition on marijuana is unconstitutional.

  • Rockabilly||

    Your communist agenda will be defeated. And right now I am smoking some un tax and un regulated home grown reefer and the music machine is playing George Jones.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WE5pM1HXxlI

    your anti-freedom agenda will be in the dustbin of history. My suede shoes will grind it into the ground

  • MSimon||

    +420

  • widget||

    Sativa or Indica? Indica, which I've tried, is a taste of what I imagine a syringe full of Thorazine is like. YMMV.

  • widget||

    Jacob has made it his life's mission to legalize pot or, at least challenge the reasoning behind it's general prohibition. Someone should, I guess. If I had Jacob's talent I would focus on the curious laws regarding exotic dancing.
    I believe that just about every town west of Pittsburgh and east of Las Vegas requires pool-bar gogo girls to wear pasties. Can I get on a mission about that?

  • SIV||

    In Atlanta the only requirement is shoes.

  • AlmightyJB||

    shoes? fascists.

  • MSimon||

    Do pasties have to be flat? Can they be nipple shaped?

  • Robert||

    How could they fit if they weren't?

  • MSimon||

    Custom. You have heard of 3D printers. No?

  • Crusty Juggler - LGBTQIA+||

    more like Oh-High-No.

  • Sevo||

    Sorta like a response from our C-E-No?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Dear libertarians that oppose Issue 3 because 'muh cartels!': you are a large part of the problem with libertarianism. Jesus motherfucking Christ get a brain and some perspective. Some cronyism is better than people going to jail-especially considering the black market cronyism going on at the same time.

  • MSimon||

    Legalization had 65% support. Issue 3 got 35%. Does that mean that 30% of the Ohio electorate is libertarian? Who knew?

  • Krabappel||

    I am doubtful that libertarians made much of an impact here but I agree with you that a cartel would have been better than nothing.

  • Gene||

    If I want to brew beer I don't need to go to the state for approval, nor should someone who wishes to produce their own cannabis.

    This is why I don't view this as a big deal, try again and get it right next time.

  • Jan S.||

    THIS. The fact one would have to register with the state and pay a hefty licensing fee to grow 4 lousy plants was my biggest objection - isn't the legalization of pot supposed to prevent the government from raiding the homes of perfectly innocent people?

  • ant1sthenes||

    Ohioans are already getting pulled over in other states because cops confuse buckeye symbols with marijuana leaves. Legalizing pot would have made a bad situation worse.

    Anyhow, my hope is that the anti-cartel issue will do some lasting good unrelated to pot.

  • jamescmcaryh16||

    This was a proposal that only held end users hostage. Ransom to already monied interests will not be paid. "Trickle-up only" is unacceptable. Small business 'Startups' having the ability to compete will be the only pathway to success in it's legalization anywhere.

    And it needs to happen fast.. As of now, marijuana money is going into the wrong hands. Marijuana is stronger and easier to get than ever before, albeit much more expensive than it should be… and all that money is going back to the cartels!

    To smoke casually from the “black market”, it will run you $100/month. This is much more expensive than it needs to be. More expensive than my cell phone ($20/month from Tmobile), car insurance ($25/month from InsurancePanda), netflix ($10/month), and gym ($15/month) COMBINED!!! Would you rather put money into the hands of violent gangs and drug dealers… or into taxes for schools, hospitals, public infrastructure, etc.???

    This is why marijuana needs to be legalized via a SMART legalization bill, not the one we saw here in Ohio! We love Marijuana, but not enough to vote for monopolizing anything!

  • Brandybuck||

    You win some, you lose some. Mostly you lose some.

  • Kathleen Chippi||

    In my humble opinion, the reason MPP/DPA/NCIA/Soros didn't support this is because they were not included in the monopoly. Yes the $$$ people responsible for 90% of the cannabis language passed nationwide (MPP/DPA/NCIA/Soros ) had some new $$$ people (Issue 3) attempt to copy their success without them.

    Unfortunately for the Issue 3 creators/funders, they did not have the experience Soros/Nadelman/DPA/MPP/ASA/NCIA have in writing much more 'vague' language that can accomplish the same result of a monopoly/oligopoly without more than a handful of people (who are blacked out by the media) catching on before the vote. Soros/Nadelman would never write language that would result in a ballot title clarifying/calling out their true intentions of a monopoly/oligopoly. They are much more subtle...and they know that they can afford to buy the rules and regs from the general assembly and local governments that can EXCLUDE just about everyone. Look to their success in Colorado in the last 5 years...

    From 2000-2010 per the state constitution, only caregivers and patients could cultivate, manufacture, dispense cannabis in the state. People got regular business licenses and opened hundreds of dispensaries and paid taxes until 2010 with no problems...then in came the 'old' money, senators like Romer were witnessed being paid off by Josh Stanley and puff, passage of evil HB10-1284.....

  • Kathleen Chippi||

    yes, HB10-1284 banned all caregivers and pot felons (competition) from owning a medical dispensary or cultivating to sell to a dispensary. Businesses had 2 weeks to either close or sell to a non-caregiver, non pot felon (rapist, murderers, sex offenders, molesters, violent offenders, meth, heroin, cocaine felons welcome) or give up their constitutional protection as a caregiver and cough up $20K-$50K and apply for a new medical cannabis "Center" license, with no idea of what rules they would need to comply with or how often they would change or how much it would cost to comply and change with them. And if you didn't apply in this 2 week period, there was a 3 year moratorium on any more cannabis businesses. Local governments had zoned the businesses out before A64 passed and instead of adopting the alcohol regs they adopted the HB10-1284 statutory medical regs.

    Colorado had at least 1,000 caregiver dispensary owners and over 65,000 voluntarily registered caregiver cultivators supplying those dispensaries and 140,000 patients prior passage of HB10-1284. Now CO has less than at least double the consumers, less than 4,500 caregivers, and less than 2,000 medical and A64 businesses combined. Instead of over 66,000 plus people getting to participate on medical alone and spread some of the $$$ around, there are less than 1,000 cultivators and most left standing are attached to multiple licenses into the dozens. All the while, people are limited to 1 liquor license.

  • Kathleen Chippi||

    So MPP/DPA/Soros/Nadelman/ASA/NCIA have perfected their craft.... they know how to pass monopolist language into state constitutions 'under the radar'....They (mis) market "legalization" and an "end to prohibition" to everyone and promise everyone the world and then the courts don't uphold their language as making anything "lawful" and only extreamly wealthy people get to participate as only 1%er's can afford the costs and attorneys for the risks...

    And let us not forget who CREATED the WAR on Drugs ("we the people") 1. Big Business, 2. Big Government and 3. Mass Media and that working together they have successfully run the longest war in the history of the US while profiting off of prohibition. ...I am so thankful the title board put fair and accurate title on Issue 3 and the voters didn't swallow this nonsense, but I'm not sure it was for any reason other than the Issue 3 investors were too blatant with their intent and didn't include Soros/Nadelman/DPA/MPP in their 'vision'.

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