On Tuesday, Ohio failed to garner enough votes to become the first state in the Midwest to legalize recreational marijuana.
Voters decided not to pass Issue 3, which, Fox 19 reports, would have allowed people 21 and over "to buy one ounce of marijuana for medicinal or recreational use."
Ohio votes down proposal to legalize recreational and medical marijuana use following expensive campaign: https://t.co/BNyDm2ghyi
— The Associated Press (@AP) November 4, 2015
Fox 19 also notes that Issue 3 would have allowed "a person with a license to grow, use and share up to eight ounces of homegrown marijuana, plus four flowering plants."
"I feel Issue 3 creates a difficult utilitarian decision for citizens of Ohio," said Luke Zona, President of Bowling Green State University SSDP. "There are strong negatives and strong positives to the bill. It makes weighing the values very difficult to determine what the moral decision is for Ohio citizens as a whole."
Earlier this year, a group called ResponsibleOhio was able to garner the necessary number of signatures to include Issue 3 in the November elections (the roughly $20 million from a few supporters didn't hurt their efforts).
Prior to the vote, however, there had been controversy surrounding the group and its support of the 10 Marijuana Growth, Cultivation and Extraction (MGCEs) that would legally be allowed to grow weed in the state — potentially creating a monopoly on weed production. Reuters reports that Issue 3 "grants exclusive rights for commercial marijuana growth and distribution to 10 facilities around the state. Those facilities are owned by investors in the legalization movement."
"Responsible Ohio is ready to try again for years to come," Zona told MTV News via email. "It is uncertain if they would drop the oligopoly. I doubt it, because they would lose major funding from the 10 perspective growers. It may take years longer for Cannabis to become legalized. In the mean time thousands of people will be arrested/charged for Cannabis crimes in a racially disproportionate manner and medical patients will be victims of the war on drugs.
"However a more optimal amendment may gather enough signatures," he continued. "This may be unlikely though, because in a state like Ohio during this specific time it takes a large amount of money and lots of conviction to get a Cannabis amendment on the ballot. Money is a large incentive to have conviction. That is how Responsible Ohio got their amendment on the ballot, millions of dollars and determination."
Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia have already legalized recreational marijuana.