Legalize it!

The Secretary of State’s Office has affirmed that activists have collected a sufficient number of signatures from registered voters to place a marijuana legalization measure before lawmakers.

On Friday, the Office validated over 10,000 outstanding signatures. Advocates with the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol initially turned in over 200,000 signatures in December, but it was later determined that they were more than 13,000 signatures shy of the threshold necessary to place their initiative before legislators.

Lawmakers now have four months to either enact the proposal as written, amend it, or ignore it. If lawmakers decide in favor of either of the latter two options, advocates can elect to gather additional signatures to place the measure before voters on the November ballot.

As proposed, the citizens’ initiated measure allows for the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or 15 grams of marijuana extract by those age 21 or older. Adult Ohioans could purchase marijuana at retail locations or grow up to 12 plants in a private residence (where at least two adults reside). Retail cannabis products would be taxed at 10 percent. Municipalities can to opt out of allowing retail sales if a majority of elected officials decide in favor of an ordinance to do so.

“We are ready and eager to work with Ohio legislators over the next four months to legalize the adult use of marijuana in Ohio,” CTRMLA spokesman Tom Haren said in a press release. “We are also fully prepared to collect additional signatures and take this issue directly to voters on November 8, 2022, if legislators fail to act.”

In 2015, Ohio voters rejected a ballot proposal that sought to establish a limited legal market for the commercial production and sale of marijuana to adults. Several provisions of that measure were highly controversial, particularly those that sought to restrict the pool of licensed commercial growers to include only the initiative’s financial investors.

In December, a pair of GOP lawmakers introduced their own adult-use legalization bill, HB 498. A Democratic-sponsored legalization measure, HB 382, is also pending. Details on both bills is available from NORML’s Take Action Center.

Additional information is available from the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

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