ELECTION WRAP-UP: Pot still illegal, Urig keeps township seat

Staff Report

An attempt to legalize marijuana went up in smoke Tuesday as voters soundly rejected Ohio’s Issue 3.

Here in Lorain County, just slightly more than 50,000 voters (63.3 percent) sided against a constitutional amendment that would have allowed pot for both medical and recreational uses.

Only 28,981 (36.7 percent) were in favor of the issue, which drew wide criticism on both anti-drug and anti-monopoly grounds.

More than 70 percent of Ohio voters sided against legalization.

“We’d like to thank the hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who worked tirelessly to put Issue 3 on the ballot, educate friends and family members and who voted to bring marijuana reform to our state,” said a statement released by ResponsibleOhio, the group behind the legalization push.

“We trust the voters. We started the conversation, and we’re going to continue the conversation starting tomorrow. The status quo doesn’t work, it’s unacceptable and we’re not going away. All the things we’ve fought for are true. Ohioans still need treatment and deserve compassionate care. And our state needs the jobs and tax revenue that marijuana legalization will bring.”

The message from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine was celebratory.

“Tonight’s vote is a resounding statement that Ohioans do not support the enshrinement of marijuana cartels in Ohio’s Constitution. Tonight is a great victory for Ohio’s families, public safety, and the democratic process,” he said.

While Issue 3 was the most polarizing on the state ballot, Issue 1 was perhaps more important.

Voters overwhelmingly supported the measure, which fights gerrymandering — the mangling of voting district lines by political parties to benefit their own candidates.

Issue 2, meanwhile, an anti-monopoly amendment designed to cripple the pot legalization push, won very close passage.

Closer to home, an Amherst Township tax increase failed by 182 votes. Issue 15 called for $453,000 per year in new property taxes to help fix roads and bridges.

A $25 million Firelands Schools construction levy also went down in flames, with 2,348 voters in Lorain and Erie counties siding against Issue 22. Only 1,751 voted in favor of the tax.

That leaves the district wondering how to move forward with expensive fixes at South Amherst Middle School and Firelands High School.

In local candidate run-offs, South Amherst council president won election to the village mayoral seat with a 343-185 victory over former mayor Ronald Schmitz.

Incumbent David Urig also won reelection in Amherst Township, besting challenger Ron Yacobozzi in a 1,088-775 contest.

Had Yacobozzi won, he would have been forced under Ohio law to surrender his long-held Amherst board of education seat.

Ohio Attorney General’s office spokesman Dan Tierney confirmed to the News-Times that the two positions were not deemed “compatible” for one candidate to hold at the same time.

Staff Report