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Government & Politics
2018 was a big election year in Ohio. Republicans held onto all five statewide executive offices including governor and super majorities in both the Ohio House and Senate. But there were a few bright spots for Democrats, among them the reelection of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and the election of two Democrats to the Ohio Supreme Court.With election 2018 over, the focus now shifts to governing. Stay connected with the latest on politics, policies and people making the decisions at all levels affecting your lives.

Is There a Future for a Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure in Ohio?

photo of Marijuana
WIKIMEDIA

An organization that wanted voters in November to pass a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana has halted its campaign, leaving the question of whether the effort will resurface later. A political scientist provides some possible answers.

When Ohioans for Medical Marijuana suspended its campaign and signature gathering efforts this past weekend, spokesman Aaron Marshall said part of the reason was that state lawmakers had passed their own medical-marijuana plan. And then there was the other reason.

“You know the reality is raising money for medical marijuana policy changes is incredibly difficult.”

David Niven, a political science professor at the University of Cincinnati, says raising money could be especially tough this year. Niven says if the group decides to pick up its suspended campaign next fall, it wouldn’t be nearly as expensive or difficult to get the message out.

“One advantage to 2017 would be somebody would actually listen to them; in 2016, it would have been almost impossible for them to get any attention. I mean up against Trump, Clinton, Strickland and Portman, they could have screamed from the hilltops about their issue and nobody was going to hear them."

But "the downside for 2017 for medical marijuana would be that very few people are going to vote in 2017 and it’s hard to generate excitement in a low-turnout election.”

Ohioans for Medical Marijuana says for now, it’ll focus on making sure the state follows through on the promises made in the medical marijuana bill lawmakers passed last week. Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign the bill later this week.