On election day, Ohio voters rejected the push for legal recreational marijuana, also known as Issue 3 or the Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative. The proposal was shot down by a landslide, with an almost 2-to-1 defeat.
The proposal would have legalized the use and sale of recreational cannabis in Ohio, but the ballot language established only ten licenses which would have exclusive commercial rights to the plants’ production and sales. Voting “no” left current laws unchanged — possession and use of marijuana remains illegal in the Buckeye State.
Although Issue 3 was defeated, the cannabis debate is not over in Ohio. Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberg, R-Clarksville and other state lawmakers who have previously been opposed to cannabis policy reform are now reconsidering the medicinal use of cannabis after learning more about the plants’ therapeutic uses and hearing from constituents.
“After going through this process, myself and many of my colleagues realize there’s tremendous support for medical marijuana and something we should have a bigger discussion about. We obviously want to help the parents with children that are ill and the elderly that are suffering,”
said Rep. Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell, a leader in the House.
This reconsideration by lawmakers comes as no surprise, as the results of the latest Quinnipiac poll revealed that a super majority of Ohio voters believe the use of medical marijuana should be legal. 90 percent of participants from Ohio responded that they supported the legalization of cannabis for medicinal purposes. In the same poll, voters from Florida and Pennsylvania also reported 90 percent approval for medical marijuana.
Notably, the rejection of Issue 3 by voters does not appear to be a sign that Ohio or any other state is not ready for cannabis policy reform. Rather, it is reported that voters just recognized that Issue 3 did not provide residents with a free market, and may not have been the best model to adopt. Either way, Ohioans are definitely ready for medicinal cannabis.
If the newest legislation introduced to the United States Senate by Sen. Bernie Sanders and the results of the most recent Gallup poll are any inclination, the majority of American people are ready for cannabis policy reform on a much larger scale. Sanders introduced legislation to remove cannabis from federal scheduling under the Controlled Substances Act, thereby ending the federal prohibition entirely.