COLUMBUS (Thursday, Nov. 5)—Ohio voters rejected Issue 3 because they didn’t want a small cartel of already-rich, well-connected operators to make millions by controlling Ohioans’ personal freedom and urgent medical needs, said the chairman of the Libertarian Party of Ohio.
“Some of the media has this story a little bit wrong,” said LPO Executive Committee Chairman Bob Bridges. “A lot of headlines are focusing on the pot, when for most Ohioans, the real issue was the pot of gold the investors would reap. Issue 3 was much more about who could sell cannabis than about who could buy it, or who could use it to treat medical problems for themselves and their children.”
“The Issue 3 cartel badly misjudged the voters,” said Bridges. “They thought we would overlook the cronyism to get the cannabis. They were wrong.”
Ohio voters rejected Issue 3 Tuesday by a margin of 65 percent to 35 percent, mainly because they opposed the proposed legal drug cartel—created and backed by the State of Ohio—not because of opposition to ending marijuana prohibition or to allowing Ohio citizens the right to choose medical cannabis for themselves and their children, said Bridges.
Bridges added that polling shows strong support for legal cannabis among Ohio voters, noting a Quinnipiac poll just weeks before the election that showed that Ohioans favor the right to choose medical cannabis by a margin of 9 to 1, and that almost half of Ohio voters support re-legalizing cannabis for recreational use.
“Cannabis prohibition is less popular in Ohio every day, and the Libertarian Party is going to continue to help lead the fight for an end to cannabis prohibition as we always have,” said Bridges.
Bridges says he was very encouraged by the grass-roots activism in support of Issue 3, and commended the efforts of the hundreds of activists who were sincerely working in the best interests of all Ohioans.
“A lot of great people—many of whom are themselves Libertarians—were confused, or even upset, about our official opposition to Issue 3, and we worked hard to explain why,” Bridges said. “We understand why many people decided that a significant rollback of marijuana prohibition was more important that stopping crony capitalism, and we’re already working on bringing together everyone who is fighting marijuana prohibition to find a better way to accomplish it as soon as possible.”
Bridges, who is also a registered lobbyist who is well regarded by both Republicans and Democrats in the Statehouse, is spearheading an effort to get a medical cannabis bill before the legislature immediately. “Compassionate use is now low-hanging fruit if we all tell our representatives what we want,” Bridges said. “This is something Issue 3 supporters and many Issue 3 opponents can agree on and work together to achieve.”
The Libertarian Party of Ohio is the third largest political party in the state, and has supported the re-legalization of marijuana since its founding in 1972. The LPO Executive Committee unanimously voted to oppose Issue 3 in March 2015.
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Aaron Keith Harris
LPO Communications Director