For more details and background information about the legal marijuana amendment in Ohio, visit our featured section on Issue 3. For information on how voters are deciding on issue 3, visit our voting results page.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Voters have rejected a ballot measure that would have made Ohio the first state to make marijuana legal for both recreational and medical use in a single stroke.
The initiative failed by a margin of 65% to 35% following an expensive campaign, a legal fight over its ballot wording and an investigation into the proposal’s petition signatures.
The constitutional amendment dubbed Issue 3 on Tuesday’s ballot would have allowed adults 21 and older to use, buy or grow certain amounts of marijuana. It also would have established a regulatory and taxation scheme while creating a network of 10 growing facilities.
Those growing sites were targeted in a separate ballot question aimed at preventing monopolies from being inserted into Ohio’s Constitution for the economic benefits of a few.
The defeat of Issue 3 means a court challenge can be avoided as to which issue would have trumped the other.
The Buckeye State would have been the fifth in the United States to allow legal marijuana, as Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Alaska and the District of Columbia have all legalized recreational marijuana use.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted ordered all of Ohio’s counties to refrain from releasing results of the issues on which the entire state is voting, including an issue on marijuana legalization, until 9 p.m. because of a court order in Hamilton County, where Cincinnati is located.
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman made the decision to extend voting hours in the county Tuesday in response to an emergency injunction filed by the marijuana legalization campaign ResponsibleOhio. The group sought the extension, citing problems experienced throughout the day involving a new electronic check-in system.
The election board fought the extension. The judge’s decision was confirmed to The Associated Press by Eric Kearney, a former state senator who served as plaintiff in the request.
Media outlets that were in the courtroom report that Ruehlman heard brief arguments, then said giving voters an extra 90 minutes was “the right thing to do.”
Polls in other Ohio counties are scheduled to close at 7:30 p.m.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.