Ohioans To End Prohibition (OTEP) began collecting signatures Monday on their constitutional amendment to legalize recreational and medical cannabis.
The group is hoping to put their initiative to a vote of the people next year, on the 2016 general election ballot. First, the group must collect 1,000 signatures from registered voters in order to submit the issue to the Ohio attorney general for review. Once they receive approval from the attorney general, they’ll be required to collect roughly 300,000 signatures to put their initiative to a vote.
If placed on the ballot and approved into law, the initiative would legalize the possession of up to 100 grams of cannabis for those 21 and older, as well as the private cultivation of up to six cannabis plants. Medical cannabis would also be legalized, with patients able to possess and cultivate twice as much cannabis.
In addition; “An intelligently regulated marijuana market will promote vibrant competition among small local businesses and allow outside investment–which will create tens of thousands of jobs for Ohio citizens, boost the Ohio economy, and foster innovation”, says OTEP. “Production and distribution will be vertically integrated, and one retail system will serve both patients and regular consumers. Any adult or corporation will be able to apply for and purchase commercial licenses to grow, manufacture, or sell marijuana and marijuana products.”
In March, a group called ResponsibleOhio began collecting signatures on their own initiative to legalize cannabis, though their goal is to put the issue to a vote this November. Their initiative would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, and would establish a system of state-licensed cannabis retail outlets which would be supplied by ten cannabis production centers located throughout the state (in a controversial move, the centers will be operated by investors of the initiative.
Polling released yesterday by Quinnipiac University found that 52% of voters in Ohio support legalizing cannabis, with 44% opposed.