An attempt to legalize marijuana went up in smoke Tuesday as voters soundly rejected Ohio’s Issue 3.
Here in Lorain County, just slightly more than 50,000 voters (63.3 percent) sided against a constitutional amendment that would have allowed pot for both medical and recreational uses.
Only 28,981 (36.7 percent) were in favor of the issue, which drew wide criticism on both anti-drug and anti-monopoly grounds.
More than 70 percent of Ohio voters sided against legalization.
“We’d like to thank the hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who worked tirelessly to put Issue 3 on the ballot, educate friends and family members and who voted to bring marijuana reform to our state,” said a statement released by ResponsibleOhio, the group behind the legalization push.
“We trust the voters. We started the conversation, and we’re going to continue the conversation starting tomorrow. The status quo doesn’t work, it’s unacceptable and we’re not going away. All the things we’ve fought for are true. Ohioans still need treatment and deserve compassionate care. And our state needs the jobs and tax revenue that marijuana legalization will bring.”
The message from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine was celebratory.
“Tonight’s vote is a resounding statement that Ohioans do not support the enshrinement of marijuana cartels in Ohio’s Constitution. Tonight is a great victory for Ohio’s families, public safety, and the democratic process,” he said.
While Issue 3 was the most polarizing on the state ballot, Issue 1 was perhaps more important.
Voters overwhelmingly supported the measure, which fights gerrymandering — the mangling of voting district lines by political parties to benefit their own candidates.
Issue 2, meanwhile, an anti-monopoly amendment designed to cripple the pot legalization push, won very close passage.
Closer to home, a $25 million Firelands Schools construction levy also went down in flames, with 2,348 voters in Lorain and Erie counties siding against Issue 22. Only 1,751 voted in favor of the tax.
That leaves the district wondering how to move forward with expensive fixes at South Amherst Middle School and Firelands High School.
Gas and electric aggregation each got the go-ahead nod from voters in New Russia Township; and the Central Lorain County Ambulance District handily won a renewal of its operations levy in a 3,293-1,241 vote.
In local candidate run-offs, Michael Hill and Patricia Eschen won election to Kipton village council in double-digit votes.
Mark Diedrick also defeated opponent Daniel Louis Clark 296-221 for a Pittsfield Township trustee seat.