Voters in Ohio on Tuesday rejected a proposal [text, PDF] to legalize the medical and recreational use of marijuana. The measure would have decriminalized the use of marijuana by permitting retail sale of various marijuana-infused products, allowing those 21 years of age or older to grow up to four flowering marijuana plants [BBC report] and creating a new state government agency called the “Marijuana Control Commission.” Issue 3, would have been an amendment to the state constitution and was defeated by over 63 percent [unofficial election results, PDF] of voters. More than half of precincts report that Issue 3 was rejected in every Ohio county [Tribune report] with one county not reporting. The measure was controversial in part because it would have granted exclusive rights for the production and sale of marijuana to predetermined sellers and limited additional growth facilities, effectively creating a prearranged monopoly [The Atlantic report].
Although marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the legalization of medical marijuana [JURIST backgrounder] and decriminalization of marijuana possession has gained support in recent years. In October the Michigan House of Representatives [official website] approved medical marijuana legislation [JURIST report] that provides licensing requirements for businesses to grow, sell and pay taxes on medical marijuana. In June the Louisiana House of Representatives approved a medical marijuana [JURIST report] bill that gives authority to three state boards to regulate the distribution system of therapeutic marijuana. Also, in March the Georgia General Assembly approved a bill [JURIST report] legalizing marijuana for limited medical purposes. Some places have also decriminalized marijuana for recreational use in addition to medical purposes, including Washington, DC [JURIST report].