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Ohio Votes Down Legalizing Pot for Medical, Recreational Use

Marijuana Legalization Initiative Fails in Ohio 1:00

In a single stroke, Ohio voters rejected a ballot proposal Tuesday to legalize marijuana for both recreational and medical use.

Failure of the proposed state constitutional amendment followed an expensive campaign, a legal fight over its ballot wording and an investigation into the proposal's petition signatures.

The measure known as Issue 3 ballot would have allowed adults 21 and older to use, purchase or grow certain amounts of marijuana.

Image:
Buddie, the mascot for the pro-marijuana legalization group ResponsibleOhio, waits to greet passing college students during a promotional tour stop at Miami University, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, in Oxford, Ohio. John Minchillo / AP

The constitutional amendment would have established a regulatory and taxation scheme while creating a network of 10 growing facilities.

That feature was a target of opponents as well as a separate ballot question aimed at preventing monopolies from being inserted into Ohio's constitution for the economic benefits of a few.

The pro-legalization ResponsibleOhio campaign spent at least $12 million on ads. But it faced opposition from a well-organized, diverse coalition of opponents that includes children's hospitals, business organizations and farmers.

Critics said the proposal's arrangement would amount to an economic monopoly designed for personal gain.

Legal Weed in Ohio Could Mean Huge Profits for a Select Few 2:12

Pot sold commercially would have had to to come from 10 authorized growing sites that are already spoken for.

Those facilities have attracted some famous investors, including basketball Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, former boy band star Nick Lachey, fashion designer Nanette Lepore and Woody Taft, a descendant of President William Howard Taft.

Turnout was low as early presidential politicking largely overshadowed campaigns and exacerbated voter disinterest that generally accompanies an off-year election.

At an elementary school in the northern Cincinnati suburb of West Chester, Beth Zielenski, said she voted no on the marijuana question. The mother of one from West Chester cited concerns about how marijuana and edible pot products would be regulated.

Timothy Shearer, 47, said he voted for the initiative. "I don't think it will cause more problems," he said.

Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, along with the District of Columbia, have legalized recreational marijuana.