Ohio Group Looking to Place Marijuana Legalization on the Statewide Ballot
A new coalition of medical marijuana growers, activists and community leaders is working to place an initiative to legalize marijuana to a vote of the people in Ohio, reports Fox19 Now.
The initiative, which is a constitutional amendment, would allow anyone 21 and older to purchase, possess and consume up to an ounce of marijuana, and they would be allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants.
The initiative makes it so that Ohio’s existing medical marijuana businesses would have first dibs on the recreational market, which would begin on July 2021 if the measure passes. State officials could then decide to issue additional licenses.
Tom Haren, a Northeast Ohio attorney who has represented several Ohio marijuana businesses, and Mike Hartley, a Columbus-based Republican consultant, are two of the individuals leading the effort.
“We will have more to share when we file petitions with the attorney general’s office this week,” Haren said, saying they planned to officially file the initiative by Friday. Once filed, the group must collect 442,958 signatures from registered voters by July 1st to qualify for the November, 2020 general election ballot.
According to Fox 19, not all Ohio medical cannabis businesses are backing the measure. The Ohio Medical Cannabis Cultivators Association, which represents 15 businesses, does not support the plan.
“OMCIA is entirely focused on bettering the medical program for patients and we are not at the time supporting an adult use initiative,” Associate Director Thomas Rosenberger told The Enquirer.
If Ohio voters do place the initiative on the ballot and pass it, they would make their state the 12th in the U.S. to do so, although legalization could be on the ballot this November in several other states.
In 2015 Ohio voters largely rejected a marijuana legalization initiative, though a large part of that was due to the fact that it established a monopoly on marijuana business licenses which would have been spread out among the biggest campaign contributors.