Ohio voters failed to approve a recreational marijuana amendment in 2015 but that does not mean advocates are giving up. A group called, Ohio Families for Change, sponsored a new measure to legalize cannabis that has been approved by Ohio’s attorney general. It needs further approval from a panel and also over 305,000 signatures from Ohio voters, which will be challenging to collect by the July 4th deadline in order to have the question added to Ohio’s ballot this November.
The measure and its advancement is still indicative of the increasing support for marijuana legalization throughout the country. Michigan has already received enough votes to have a cannabis legalization measure added to their ballot this November, which if passed would make Michigan the first Midwestern state to legalize adult-use cannabis.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine certified that the petition language for the “Marijuana Rights and Regulations” amendment was a “fair and truthful” summary of the proposed measure. The amendment would allow people age 21 and older to possess, produce, transport, use, sell and share cannabis.
It will now go to the Ohio Ballot Board, a bipartisan panel of lawmakers headed by Secretary of State Jon Husted, to determine whether the measure is one or multiple ballot issues. Once approved by the Ballot Board, supporters will need to collect at least 305,591 signatures of registered Ohio voters to put the issue on the ballot.
Ohio’s medical marijuana program leaves much to be desired and the state has been very slow about implementing its rules. While support among voters around the country for marijuana legalization has been building steadily, many legislators drag their feet on the issue. What do you think the chances are that the measure will pass this time around if the number of signatures required are collected in time?