Ohio will vote on legal marijuana: What it means for rest of US

(NewsNation) — Ohio voters will have a chance to legalize the sale of marijuana in the state Tuesday, as they go to the polls to decide the fate of Issue 2. The vote could present a watershed moment in a state that is often known to be indicative of wider national trends.

That referendum would do three things: It would legalize the sale and purchase of marijuana, allow adults who are 21 and older to possess and use it and impose a 10% tax on sales of the drug.

This legalization vote has national attention doe to Ohio’s long-term standing as a “bellwether state,” argued Douglas Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who runs the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center there.

As goes Ohio, so goes the rest of the nation. Recreational marijuana is legal in 23 states as well as the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam. If the Buckeye State were to adopt legalization after the Issue 2 vote, it would mean more than half of the U.S. population would have access to legal marijuana in their home state.

But Ohio’s last attempt to legalize marijuana at the ballot — 2015’s Issue 3 — went down in flames. The referendum failed with almost two-thirds of voters opposing it.

Berman thinks this vote may end differently.

“All the polling to date has shown 55% or higher support. That kind of issue polling is always challenging, especially because the turnout models I sense are even harder to predict when we’re just talking an off-year issue election,” he said.

Yet he pointed to the abortion referendum, Issue 1, that is also on the ballot, speculating that this will drive more younger voters to the polling booths who tend to be supportive of legalizing marijuana.

In Ohio’s case, however, a successful vote on Issue 2 would not automatically mean legalization. Because the vote is a ballot referendum and not a constitutional amendment, the legislature could vote to overrule it.

Berman finds it unlikely that the Ohio legislature would cancel it out altogether, suggesting they may make more minor tweaks like redirecting the money expected to be raised from taxes.

As it’s written, Issue 2 would direct marijuana revenues to a range of different sources including treatment for addiction and a job fund. He suggested the legislature could, as one example, decide the revenue should instead go into the general fund.

No matter how the referendum fairs, Berman sees national implications no matter which way the vote goes.

“Ohio’s sort of interestingly located in the national story… I think if Ohio were to reject Issue 2, the opponents of reform (would say) this is not inevitable,” he said.

On the other hand, if Ohio voters legalize marijuana, it could have a very different implication.

“If it does pass in Ohio, there’s both the story of hey look in a state that’s now…. a very red state, we see this issue alone still gets a majority of support, and I think we are particularly located to have a ripple effect through much of our region,” he said.

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! News Continue is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a Comment