Ohioans set to vote on legal weed

portland oregon ohio marijuana smoking
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

WKBN 27 First News has been asking questions, and following Issue 3 from many different angles. For more details and to look back through our previous stories and interviews, visit our featured section on Issue 3.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Reports show the group Responsible Ohio spent about $3.75 million dollars to air more than 8200 television ads across the state, trying to get people to vote for Issue 3, which would legalize marijuana in Ohio.

But are they getting the right message out to voters, or creating more confusion about what they’re really deciding tomorrow at the polls?

Our records show Responsible Ohio spent more than $250,000 to run these spots on Youngstown TV stations.

While the group, Ohioans Against Marijuana Monopolies, spent its ad dollars in Ohio’s five largest media markets: Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo.

A ‘No On 3’ spokesperson told WKBN they simply didn’t have enough money to buy ads in Youngstown.

Both sides have tried to tie State Issues 2 and 3 together.

But not a lot of people are sure what happens if anti-monopoly Issue 2 and pro-marijuana Issue 3 both pass.

“If they both pass, nobody knows,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “If issue two and issue three both pass, we’re going to be in court.”

State Senator Joe Schiavoni said a 1919 Ohio Supreme Court case dealing with competing Constitutional amendments decided the issue with the most YES votes was the one adopted.

Schiavoni voted against Issue 2 coming out of the legislature because he says it’s a deliberate move by the Republican majority in the General Assembly to block marijuana legalization, even if a majority of Ohioans vote for it.

“It was a reaction to the fact that Responsible Ohio had the requisite amount of signatures, or were very close at the point when we passed Issue 2 through the legislature,” Schiavoni said.

Issue 2 seeks to stop any Constitutional amendment that would grant a monopoly, or set a specific tax rate. If that’s confusing, maybe the better question for voters– is what their neighborhoods might look like, if Issue 3 passes.

The amendment would allow licenses for more than 1100 marijuana retail locations, more than the combined amount of Starbucks (203) and McDonald’s (822) in the Buckeye State.

If approved Tuesday, the language in Issue 3 says it takes effect 30 days later.

But that doesn’t mean weed goes for sale on that day.

Attorney General DeWine says the Marijuana Control Commission has to write up all the rules and regulations, which took about a year in Colorado and Oregon, where recreational marijuana use is legal.

Voters in Oregon said yes to recreational marijuana at the polls in November 2014, but limited, legal sales just started there October first of this year.

And in their first week, dispensaries sold $11 million dollars of marijuana, more than double the numbers from Colorado’s first week.

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