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Ohio Advocates Submit Additional Signatures for Cannabis Proposal

Last week, nearly 30,000 more signatures were submitted by activists in Ohio as part of an attempt to have a proposal for marijuana legalization before the state legislature.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that the group known as the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol “turned in another 29,918 signatures to Secretary of State Frank LaRose” on Thursday “after falling short earlier this month.”

Late last month, the coalition collected 206943 signatures as part of an online petition campaign that sought to have the legislative legalization bill brought forward. 

Ohioans 21 years and over could buy legal pot and have up to 2.5 ounces. For the legislation to be approved, activists need to gather 132.887 signatures from Ohio voters. This must include at least 44 counties. The bill is then open to the legislature for a maximum period of four months.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol suffered a setback earlier this month when LaRose’s office said that only 119,825 of the more than 200,000 signatures were valid—well under the threshold.

The coalition now hopes with nearly 30,000 more signatures received, that the legalization legislation will make its way to Columbus.

The following is an extract from the Dispatch, if legislators “don’t pass the bill or pass an amended version” within the four-month time frame, “supporters can collect another 132,887 valid signatures to put the measure on the November ballot.”

In addition to permitting eligible adults to buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis, the new proposal would also allow for up to “15 grams of concentrates,” along with “up to six plants individually and no more than 12 in a household with multiple adults,” according to the Dispatch.

The newspaper reported that, under the proposal, cannabis products “would be taxed at 10 percent, with revenue going toward administrative costs, addiction treatment programs, municipalities with dispensaries, and a social equity and jobs program.”

In July, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol began its campaign.

“We are proposing to regulate marijuana for adult use, just like we do for alcohol. Our proposal fixes a broken system while ensuring local control, keeping marijuana out of the hands of children, and benefiting everyone,” coalition Spokesman Tom Haren said in a press release at the time of the campaign launch.

“Ohioans want this,” he added. “They see marijuana legalization as inevitable. Our leaders must seize this opportunity to take charge of our future. The time is right for Ohio to legalize marijuana. Nineteen states have gone before Ohio and we crafted legislation based on the best practices learned by those that went before us.”

But in the announcement, Haren noted that lawmakers did not have to wait for the petitions to be verified, saying the group is “ready to work with the General Assembly on meaningful reform right now, and it’s our sincere hope that we’ll collaborate on a sensible solution.”

While recreational cannabis isn’t yet legal in the Buckeye State, Ohio has had a medical cannabis program since 2016. State lawmakers approved a bill last month that would make some major changes to the program, which was launched in 2016. 

Most notably, the bill would permit licensed physicians to “recommend marijuana for treatment for any condition if the physician, in the physician’s sole discretion and medical opinion, finds either of the following”: “that the patient’s symptoms may reasonably be expected to be relieved from medical marijuana” and “that the patient may otherwise reasonably be expected to benefit from medical marijuana.”