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2015 Ohio election results: Marijuana bill up in smoke

Election results are in and Issues 1 and 2 have passed while Issue 3 failed, with nearly two-thirds of voters saying no to legalized marijuana in Ohio.

The overall election results were viewed as a victory by many.

“By voting for Issue 2 and against Issue 3, Ohioans have also expressed the belief that our state’s chief governing document belongs to all of us, not just a select few who wish to use the constitution to guarantee their own financial gains,” said Cliff Rosenberger, Ohio Speaker of the House. “I applaud these results and believe that this was a big win for the state of Ohio.”

The sound defeat of the estimated $25 million marijuana legalization campaign in Ohio, though, does not mean that the issue is going away. It will likely be put before voters again in the future. Issue 3 supporters said work on a new effort to legalize marijuana in Ohio has already begun.

Opponents of Issue 3 are hoping that, in the meantime, a number of issues with the measure can be corrected before legalized marijuana returns to the Ohio ballot. Issue 3 would have: legalized recreational and medical use of the drug; allowed only 10 wealthy investor groups to grow and cultivate marijuana for sale by changing the Ohio Constitution; and created conflict between state and federal law, as it is still illegal to sell and use marijuana nationally.

“The proponents are rushing to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes as well as medical. Only four states and Washington, D.C. currently permit recreational marijuana use. Let’s learn from them how it affects the crime rate, addiction, businesses, employees and the economy before we rush to join them,” said the Ohio Farm Bureau in a statement on Issue 3. “The proponents won’t tell you that even if marijuana is legalized in Ohio, it is still illegal under federal law to sell and use marijuana. Passing the marijuana ballot proposal would create a business structure in Ohio that could be jeopardized by the decision of a new administration to enforce federal law.”

Issue 2 was crafted partially in response to Issue 3 making it onto the ballot. Issue 2 protects Ohio’s Constitution from monopoly, oligopoly or cartel interests through a constitutional amendment prohibiting special interests from amending the constitution to guarantee financial profits for themselves through preferential tax rates or commercial rights or special economic privileges not available to similarly situated people or nonpublic agencies.

A past issue, the effort to legalize gambling in Ohio in 2009, resulted in the establishment of constitutional protection for two companies to own all four current casinos in Ohio.

“The constitution should be used to protect the fundamental rights of all individuals, not to guarantee the financial profits of a select few,” said Chris Henney, OABA president and CEO. “A yes vote would protect free commerce, fair trade and fair dealing in Ohio.”

Issue 1 had broad support from both political parties to amend the Ohio Constitution and change the process that is used to draw state legislative districts. Issue 1 creates the bipartisan Ohio Redistricting Commission that will draw legislative districts according to new standards and take partisan politics out of the redistricting process, adding transparency. The passage of Issue 1 protects against gerrymandering by requiring at least two votes from each party in order to approve a district plan. Otherwise a temporary plan is put in place and the commission must reconvene to redraw it, according to the Ohio Farm Bureau.

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