Legalization in Ohio Faces Rough Road Ahead
With only three weeks left until voters in Ohio head to the polls to decide whether or not the state will become the first in the Midwest to legalize a recreational cannabis industry, some new data has come to light that indicates the likelihood of defeat for ResponsibleOhio’s controversial initiative.
A new survey published earlier this week by Kent State University suggests that while the majority of Ohio’s voters support Issue 3, the proposal that would legalize both a recreational and medical marijuana market, there is also plenty of backing for Issue 2, a competing measure aimed at banning monopolies, which would reportedly supersede a majority vote for cannabis reform.
The poll found that while 56 percent of the voters support ResponsibleOhio’s initiative to legalize weed across the state, 54 percent said they also intend to back Issue 2 in the polls – enough to ensure prohibition stays alive and well in the Buckeye state.
“If the election were held today and nearly all registered voters participated, both Issue 2 and Issue 3 would likely pass leading to a constitutional crisis,” said Ryan Claassen, an associate professor with Kent State’s Political Science department, in a statement.
Upon an announcement in August of a separate “anti-monopoly” initiative passed by the Ohio State Legislature intended to combat the ResponsibleOhio measure, Secretary of State Jon Husted made it perfectly clear that the state’s amendment would overrule legal marijuana if both measures were to pass.
“Should both proposed measures be approved, the anti-monopoly amendment put forth by the legislature would go into effect first and its provision banning a monopoly from inclusion in the constitution would serve as an effective roadblock to ResponsibleOhio’s amendment taking effect,” Husted said in a statement.
Therefore, the only thing that has to happen on election day to snuff out the possibility of a taxed and regulated cannabis market in Ohio is for Issue 2 to emerge with a majority vote. It’s not even necessary for it to beat ResponsibleOhio. However, in the event that both initiatives win, there is a very good chance that the final result would be hashed out in a court of law.
“The only certain thing if both amendments pass is that it’s going to be tied up in litigation,” Faith Oltman, a spokesperson for ResponsbileOhio, said.
Ohio Voters will have an opportunity to voice an opinion on both issues on November 3.
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