The Atlantic Reports

Voters may have rejected a constitutional amendment because of concerns about monopoly control, not because they oppose looser laws.

Call it Not So O-high-o. Voters in the Buckeye State resoundingly rejected an attempt to legalize recreational marijuana by constitutional amendment on Tuesday. But unlike some other cases in which ballot referenda to liberalize drug laws were defeated at the polls, it’s a bit more difficult to draw broad conclusions in Ohio.

Ohio’s legalization initiative, Issue 3, attempted an unusual approach. Rather than legalize recreational use and allow businesses to sell cannabis, as in Colorado, or legalize recreational use and centralize distribution under state ABC agencies, as in Washington, Ohio’s measure was backed by a cartel of investors—ResponsibleOhio—who would retain the exclusive rights to cultivate marijuana. That arrangement was highly controversial, making it unclear whether voters were rejecting marijuana itself, or simply a system that was decried by opponents as a monopolistic travesty.

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