In just days, on November 3rd, voters in Ohio voters will decide the fate of Issue 3, which would legalize recreational cannabis for those 21 and older (some have already voted through the state’s early voting process). If passed into law, Ohio would become the 5th state in the U.S. to legalize recreational cannabis in just a three year period (from November, 2012 to November, 2015), marking 10% of the entire nation.
Issue 3 would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis for those 21 and older, while also legalizing the distribution of cannabis through state-licensed cannabis retail outlets. The cultivation of up to four flowering cannabis plants would also be allowed for those who receive a $50 license from the Ohio Marijuana Control Commission (those who receive a license would be allowed to possess up to eight ounces, rather than the standard one).
There is a provision in Issue 3 that has drawn the ire of many, including both proponents and opponents of legalization. That provision would guarantee the state’s ten cultivation centers to investors of the initiative, establishing what many – including the state in their official summary of the measure – call a monopoly. However, despite the clear problems with this provision, it alone doesn’t change the massive positive impact the rest of the initiative would have, including putting an end to thousands of arrests and creating tens of thousands of new jobs.
Recent polling, which was released after early voting began, shows the initiative on track to pass. A Quinnipiac University poll released last week found that 53% of voters in Ohio support legalizing recreational cannabis, 9% more than those who oppose it (44%). This week, a Kent State University poll, which asked specifically about Issue 3, found 56% of voters to be in support of the initiative, the clearest sign yet that it will pass.
Obviously polling doesn’t tell the full answer, and we won’t know the final results until the votes are tallied, but it’s looking more and more like the U.S. will soon have five states where cannabis is openly sold to anyone 21 and older, which is incredible when you consider that just four years ago there weren’t any.