2015 Election Results Are In — Ohio’s Issue 3 Fails

  • by Danielle Keane, NORML Associate November 4, 2015

    map_leafVoters decided on several important marijuana measures on the state and local level today. Here are the results:

    Issue 3, ResponsibleOhio failed to pass. (34.8%-65.1%)

    Most notably was the controversial ResponsibleOhio measure that sought to permit the limited commercial production, retail sale, and personal use of cannabis for those 21 years or older in the state. The measure would have initially established 10 state-licensed commercial growing sites, allowed for 1,000 retail dispensaries, five regional testing facilities and also a non-profit medical marijuana dispensary system to provide access to those patients with a recommendation from a physician.

    This proposal received a significant amount of backlash from Ohio residents who believed awarding the 10 growing licenses to private investors, who fronted the costs of the campaign, was overly restrictive in nature.

    NORML Deputy Director, Paul Armentano said: “We are disappointed though not entirely surprised by the outcome of this vote. While it remains clear that a majority of Ohioans support ending criminal marijuana prohibition for adults, and patients in particular, the majority of the debate surrounding Issue 3 focused on provisions regarding the limited number of entities who would financially profit from this proposed market model. It has been clear for some time now that Americans want legal marijuana; it is also abundantly clear that most voters want the free market, not an artificially restricted one dictated by special interests, to govern this emerging marketplace. It is our hope that Ohio lawmakers will listen to the will of the people in Ohio and work toward crafting sensible legislation to regulate the adult use, production, and sale of marijuana in a manner that comports with the free-market values of Ohioans.”

    Nonetheless, voter sentiment remains in favor of legalizing marijuana. Next November, voters are expected to decide on ballot measures regulating marijuana in a number of states including California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Arizona. These measures will not contain the restrictive provisions similar to those proposed in Ohio.

    At the local level, residents in Keego Harbor and Portage, Michigan were also faced with a ballot decision today on whether or not to remove the criminal penalties associated with the possession, use, transfer and transportation of small amounts of marijuana. At this time, it has been confirmed that Keego Harbor has approved their ballot measure (55.3%-44.7%). Portage voters also narrowly approved their measure (50.6%-49.4%). Residents in Logan, Ohio voted on a similar depenalization measure that was defeated (56.9%-43%).

    The results of two candidate races boded well tonight for marijuana law reform. In Kentucky, Republican candidate for Governor, Matt Bevin defeated Attorney General of Kentucky, Jack Conway. The Kentucky Governor in waiting has made supportive statements in the past for legalizing medical marijuana, while his opponent called marijuana a dangerous gateway to addiction.

    Additionally, former city councilmen Jim Kenney won the race to become Philadelphia’s next mayor. Kenney championed the city’s now successfully implemented marijuana decriminalization measure and has expressed interest in reducing fines and enforcement even further.

    54 responses to “2015 Election Results Are In — Ohio’s Issue 3 Fails”

    1. Dave Evans says:

      So are you going do real Marijuana legalization Ohio? You know, your jobs as legislators? The people want Legal marijuana, not Oligarch Marijuana. So get to it already; or do you really want to waste even more money and time forcing your own people to go around their own legislature again???

    2. Ben says:

      It seems that the word ‘monopoly’…

      -was either an accidental Achilles’ heel
      -or a clever ruse to sabotage this round

    3. Lenny says:

      It saddens me that so many are either uneducated or self righteous. Issue 3 would have helped countless sick and dying citizens, even children. So farmers wouldn’t get to grow enough weed, I think there’s a clear greater good here that was ruined by pettiness. The effect will be felt by every citizen, as politicians use this to their advantage to support big pharma. You sicken me Ohio, and I hope everyone with a brain feels the same.

    4. Anonymous says:

      Glad to see the greed driven group r.o. fail. Now let’s get something reasonable and bennefitial for everybody on the ballot.

    5. Ned says:

      Considering that cannabis should never had been made illegal in the first place, and that it’s less dangerous than caffeine, meaning re-legalization should be simple, this is an excruciating process. Yes everybody is pushing for an alcohol style model because of the “truthiness” factor that the two substances should be regulated similarly. The REAL truth is that cannabis does NOT actually require the same degree of tight regulation that alcohol does. Except politically. So frustrating.

    6. Mickey J says:

      I live in Ohio and of course voted today. While polls show support for de-criminalizing marijuana, Issue 3 sought to amend the Ohio state constitution by granting 20 INDIVIDUALS an oligopoly with a flat tax rate of 15 percent.

      With NO legeslative interference through infinity.

      Not cool.

      [Editor’s note: Guess what is way not cooler? Over 10,000 arrests in Ohio for cannabis continuing, criminals the only source for cannabis, racial disparity in enforcement, no medical access to cannabis, no tax revenue, etc….

      Really not cool.]

    7. Dave Mudge says:

      What were the final numbers?

    8. Paul Pot says:

      Ohio has shown us how not to do a Cannabis Ballot Initiative.

    9. Evening Bud says:

      This was sad news–I was hoping for a Canada-Ohio one-two punch.

      It did occur to me, while struggling with the bad news, that this is not a “presidential election” year. I’ll have to console myself with that.

      Still, this should be a wake up call to those of us who believe national legalization is right around the corner; we still have to fight each battle. I nevertheless have much hope for 2016–with 6 or 7 states trying for legalization.

    10. Gone2PotLESSness says:

      Way to go Ohio…

      Not only did you reject “less-than-perfect”
      re-legalization, (Issue #3),
      you also made much more DIFFICULT,
      getting new, better measures on the ballot
      by approving Issue #2 …

      The proposed amendment, (Issue #2), would…

      Prohibit from taking effect
      any proposed constitutional amendment
      appearing on the November 3, 2015 General Election ballot
      that creates a monopoly, oligopoly, or cartel for the sale,
      distribution, or