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0000017a-3b40-d913-abfe-bf44a4f90000Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 16 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time.

Ohioans Send A Loud "No" To Backers Of Legalized Marijuana

via Wikimedia Commons

Ohio voters Tuesday soundly rejected a state constitutional amendment that would have legalized marijuana in Ohio and opened the door to a multi-million dollar industry growing and selling the plant.

With 97 percent of the state’s precincts reporting, 64 percent of Ohio voters were saying no to the plan, while 36 percent were saying they supported it.

It was a massive failure for ResponsibleOhio and its wealthy backers, most of whom would have profited from the legal growing and sale of marijuana, and came after they spent nearly $15 million on TV ads and mail pieces trying to convince Ohioans.

Curt Steiner, the spokesman for the anti-Issue 3 committee, told Andy Chow of Ohio Public Radio and reporters in Columbus that “Ohio voters locked arms with supporting organizations and thousands of volunteers. Ohio voters said a resounding no to a marijuana monopoly in Ohio.”

ResponsibleOhio campaign manager Ian James told reporters in Columbus that "it is just a bump in the road" and that "the work continues," according to Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles. 

Ohioans clearly weren’t buying the plan. There appeared to be three kinds of voters in this election – those totally opposed to legalized marijuana, those who favor legal marijuana and those who favored the plan laid out in Issue 3, a constitutional amendment.

Another constitutional amendment, Issue 2, was put on the ballot by the Ohio legislature and would have banned monopolies in Ohio, and in particular the marijuana industry. It was passing with nearly 53 percent of the vote. 

Under Issue 3, which would have become part of the state constitution, there would be 10 marijuana grown and extraction facilities which would have the exclusive rights to production. But ResponsibleOhio leaders emphasized that the ownership groups would be competitors and there would be no price-fixing in the marijuana market.

The list of owners contain some familiar names – former boy band singer Nick Lachey, Cincinnati basketball legend Oscar Robertson, NFL player Frostee Rucker, former radio host Frank Wood, philanthropist Barbara Gould and Woody and Dudley Taft, two descendants of President William Howard Taft.

The anti-Issue 3 group – Ohioans Against Marijuana Monopolies – was far outspent by proponents.

The anti-Issue 3 forces reported having $712,585 as of Oct. 14, with $500,000 of that coming from the Ohio Chamber of Commerce’s political arm, Partnership for Ohio’s Future. The Ohio Chamber itself kicked in another $100,000.

Most of the $15.4 million raised through Oct. 14 by ResponsibleOhio came from the investors in the growing facilities. The largest donation came from Cincinnatian Frank Wood’s DGF LLC, which gave $2.35 million to the campaign.

Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU News Team after 30 years of covering local and state politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio governor’s race since 1974 as well as 12 presidential nominating conventions. His streak continued by covering both the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions for 91.7 WVXU. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots; the Lucasville Prison riot in 1993; the Air Canada plane crash at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983; and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. The Cincinnati Reds are his passion. "I've been listening to WVXU and public radio for many years, and I couldn't be more pleased at the opportunity to be part of it,” he says.