The fight for recreational and medical marijuana is picking up speed in Ohio, and a new poll shows that the majority of Ohio voters support legalizing marijuana in the state. That show of support comes just weeks before a Nov. 3 ballot initiative where voters will decide the fate of the pot industry in the Buckeye state.
If Ohio votes yes, it would be the first state in the country to legalize marijuana for both recreational and medical uses in the country. The poll, conducted by WKYC 3 and Kent State University, shows that 56 percent of Ohio voters support legalizing weed. Roughly 32 percent opposed the measure, while 10 percent of voters didn't have a preference.
The ballot initiative has some vocal and esteemed critics, even if they are in the minority. They include a popular former two-term governor, Bob Taft, who pulls a lot of weight in the state and is the member of a family with a long history in Ohio politics. Opponents like Taft take particular offense with a provision that would only grant 10 groups of investors the right to grow marijuana in the state.
"This is not the right way to do it," Taft said to CBS News. "If it's not a monopoly, it's an oligopoly you're talking about - 10 growing sites."
The proponents of the pot initiative said they have a detailed and thought-out plan to reach voters and sway sentiment their way. Ian James, a 30-year veteran of campaigns in Ohio, is in charge of the efforts and said he plans to lead a campaign that will knock on a million doors before the election. He previously worked on President Barack Obama's national data team.
Four states plus the District of Columbia have passed initiatives to legalize marijuana, but local governments across the country have taken the issue into their own hands and taken steps away from punishing the use and possession of the drug. There are currently seven states, including Ohio, that have initiatives in the works to legalize pot. Those other states are Nevada, Maine, California, Hawaii, Missouri and Massachusetts.