Voters have rejected Ohio Ballot Issue One.
The state constitutional amendment would have changed the way some low-level drug-related crimes are handled, changing drug-possession felonies to misdemeanors.
Supporters say it would have also reduced prison overcrowding for certain low-level drug offenders and help reduce prison spending.
Opponents argued Issue 1 would create a burden on the court system and make it more difficult to prosecute some drug cases.
Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler says that in an expensive election year, "The votes yes [for Issue 1] spent a lot more money, more than $7 million. When all is said and done, it's probably going to be a lot more than that by the time you add in all the digital ads they bought as well as all the television ads."
Kasler says that despite their defeat, Issue 1 supporters do feel that their message reached Ohians, "They feel like people are understanding their point, which is that the system is broken and the people who are locked up for drug offenses need more than what the system is offering."