Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has officially certified the ballot language for a proposed initiative that would legalize marijuana for everyone 21 and older.
The petition language for the Marijuana Rights and Regulations act was certified as being “fair and truthful” by AG DeWine. This is the first step towards the proposal being put to a vote of the people.
The measure now goes to the Ohio Ballot Board, which will determine if the measure constitutes one, or multiple ballot questions. Once approved by the Board, proponents of the measure will need to collect 305,591 signatures from registered Ohio votes to put initiative on the November, 2019 general election ballot (they have the opportunity to put the measure on this November’s ballot, but it would require the incredibly tall feat of collecting all the signatures by July 4).
“This is unfortunate [needing to wait until 2019], because people are being arrested daily for activity that simply shouldn’t be criminal, only to support a black-market system,” says Jonathan Varner, spokesperson for Ohio Families for Change, the group spearheading the initiative. However, Varner says that the group is “confident that when voters have the opportunity to vote on this issue, they will overwhelmingly approve it.”
The proposed initiative would allow those 21 and older to possess and grow personal amounts of marijuana. They would also be allowed to purchase marijuana and marijuana products from a licensed marijuana retail outlet.
“It gives the small entrepreneur an equal footing with the cannabis conglomerates, while decriminalizing personal adult use of marijuana,” says Varner. “It goes beyond existing Ohio law to protect consumers from dangerous chemicals and pesticides that can be found in cannabis, and has stringent measures to keep marijuana away from persons under 21 years of age.”