Ohio Votes On Marijuana Legalization Today

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The day has finally arrived. Ohio voters have until 7:30 PM tonight to vote in the 2015 Election. On the ballot are two measures that pertain to marijuana legalization. Issue 3 would legalize the possession, consumption, and cultivation for personal use of marijuana. Issue 3 would also legalize ten grow sites that people could grow for profit. The last provision has caused quite a bit of tension obviously. Also on the ballot is Issue 2. Issue 2 would nullify at least parts of Issue 3, if not all of it.

Responsible Ohio Logo

If Issue 3 passes and Issue 2 fails, then the marijuana legalization initiative put forward by ResponsibleOhio would become law. If both Issue 3 and Issue 2 pass, then it gets a bit complicated. Below is an explanation of what Ohio law says in the event of two conflicting initiatives passing, via Cleveland.Com:

The Ohio Constitution says if two conflicting amendments on the same ballot pass, the one that gets the most votes becomes law. But the constitution also says citizen-initiated amendments, such as the marijuana legalization amendment, become law 30 days after an election while legislature-sponsored amendments become law immediately.

Ohio's Secretary of State says that regardless of how much each measure won by, since Issue 2 would take effect first, it would trump Issue 3. He of course wouldn't be making that decision ultimately. The Ohio Supreme Court, and maybe even the United States Supreme Court would decide the matter if the case made it that far and the Court decided to hear the case, which I would assume they would.

If Issue 3 fails, then it will officially be time to ramp up pressure on national organizations and many national activists who strongly opposed the Ohio legalization initiative. I heard many, many people say that Ohio can do better, and that if people can just wait for 2016 a much better initiative would be passed. If Issue 3 fails, you better believe I'll be naming names and holding people and organizations to their word. Ohio will not be left behind.

Polls close at 7:30 PM EST. I don't get off of work until 8 PM EST, so you better believe I'll be glued to social media and other communication channels to see how things are going. I don't expect the final announcement of whether each measure passed or not until late. But there definitely is the possibility, especially considering how low voter turnout could be. The last comparable election cycle was in 2013, where less than 27% of registered voters cast a ballot. Low voter turnout tends to be bad for marijuana reform initiatives, which is why most campaigns aim for Presidential election cycles. But, this initiative is unique in a lot of ways, so who knows what will happen. All we can do is wait and see.

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