Ohio voters solidly rejected marijuana legalization this week.
“Issue 3 has been soundly defeated!” Ohioans Against Marijuana Monopolies said on Twitter.
The ballot measure would have legalized both recreational and medical cannabis in the Buckeye State.
The group Smart Approaches to Marijuana argued that Issue 3 would have created monopolies for a few well-connected business people wanting to profit from legalization.
“Issue 3 would have made a handful of rich celebrities and business people even richer. Even worse, it would have put young people at risk, and Ohioans saw right through the smoke and mirrors,” said Kevin Sabet, President of SAM. “Tonight we’ve proven that legalization, even by popular initiative, can be stopped. And we intend to build on this momentum.”
Advocates of legalization, however, said that all hope was not lost. The measure was “flawed” from the beginning, said National Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith.
“The people of Ohio have understandably rejected a deeply flawed, monopolistic approach to marijuana reform that failed to garner broad support from advocates or industry leaders,” he said. “This debate has shown that there is a strong base of support for legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana. Now the foundation has been laid for a potential 2016 effort that would put forward a more common-sense initiative and have a major impact on the presidential conversation in the process.”
Tom Angell, Chairman of the Marijuana Majority, agreed.
“When it comes to the broader debate about legalizing marijuana, the defeat of Issue 3 won’t be a case of ‘as Ohio goes, so goes the nation,'” he said. “This was about a flawed measure and a campaign that didn’t represent what voters want.”