Marijuana ballot amendment could lead to higher voter turnout

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – In the last few months, several marijuana legalization groups have pushed their agendas forward.

ResponsibleOhio leads the pack with millions of dollars and thousands of signatures.

2 NEWS is asking how having the hot topic issue on the ballot could affect elections.

Experts say Ohio voters may have a real chance at legalizing marijuana. If they intend to vote yes, they may also be weeding out which amendment proposal they don’t want to support.

At least 5 organizations are trying to get amendments on the ballot.

Responsible Ohio has been the leading choice for some Ohioans. With more than 370,000 signatures, it has more than the required number of signatures to get on the November ballot.

ResponsibleOhio Spokesperson Lydia Bolander said, “We the chance to be the first state to go from marijuana prohibition to full legalization.”

We asked some residents, if this measure is on the ballot, how will you vote?

Cassie Kauffman says she’s voting yes.

“I mean there’s just so many benefits that we can get from marijuana,” Kauffman described. “It helps cancer patients be able to eat. There’s just too many benefits for it not to be legal.”

Like Kauffman, Dayton-area resident Nesbit Ayers is interested in the benefits of legalizing the drug, particularly the revenue potential for cities.

“I see what it’s doing for Colorado and I think that you know they’re making a lot of money from that,” he said. “And I think we need the money down here too. So why not legalize it? It’s going to bring down the crime.”

Others aren’t as convinced as these two voters.

Some say legalizing the drug will open the window to new problems.

Whether in support or against it, many political analysts and organizers say this ballot issue will drive voters to the polls.

The Greater Dayton League of Women Voters is excited about that possibility.

“I think it’s going to make a big difference because it’s an emotional issue,” Executive Director Susan Hesselgesser said. “It’s an exciting issue for younger people, and people because certainly there’s a health issue for those who want it legalized for medicinal reasons.”

The outcome could be blunt.

But those looking to attract younger voters are happy for a budding spark, an interest in political issues.

ResponsibleOhio has until July 1 to turn in their signatures to Ohio Secretary of State.

The office will verify if the signatures are valid. If determined the more than 300,000 signatures are legitimate, the amendment will head to the ballot this November.

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