On Tuesday, Ohio voters will decide whether or not they will become the first state east of the Mississippi to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
Though it seems legalization has majority support, surveys suggest that the vote could be a close one. However, the executive director of ResponsibleOhio, the group in charge of the initiative called Issue 3, seems confident.
“I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I’m 98.3 percent certain we’re going to win,” Ian James said. The initiative’s campaign has conducted weekly polls, and James said that the most recent survey showed a 2-to-1 advantage for his side among respondents likely to cast their votes.
A Kent State University poll showed that 56 percent of potential voters were in support of legalization and a Quinnipac University report showed 53 percent in support, according to U.S. News and World Report. Also, a University of Akron poll found that 46 percent of voters support Issue 3, 46 percent don’t and 8 percent are undecided.
“I hate to use this cliché, but it’s all going to come down to turnout, and we have an enthusiasm gap to our advantage,” James said.
Issue 3 would add an amendment to the state constitution that legalizes medical and personal use of marijuana for persons over the age of 21. ABC News reports that it would make it legal for people 21 and up to grow, use or share up to 8 ounces of marijuana.
Additionally, it would give commercial growth rights to 10 landowners who could supply more than 1,000 dispensaries in Ohio.
The initiative was created as a result of a campaign that obtained more than 300,000 voter signatures in Ohio, according to Reuters. There were millions of dollars donated to support the ballot initiative, along with big-name supports like fashion designer Nanette Lapore, former NBA player Oscar Robertson and NFL player Frostee Rucker. The initiative also cites Nick Lachey, a former 98 Degrees singer-songwriter and reality TV star, who appears in a commercial for the initiative.
Opponents have come up with an anti-monopoly initiative, Issue 2, which plans to block Issue 3 from moving forward. Issue 2 would cause the state to refuse support the kind of monopoly in Issue 3, though it does not deal specifically with marijuana. Issue 2 has less support than Issue 3.
If this happens for Ohio, the state would be the fifth and largest to legalize recreational use of marijuana. So far, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia have done so.