COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s attorney general has certified a petition for another proposed ballot initiative to legalize recreational cannabis.
The initiative would allow Ohioans age 21 or older to possess, grow, use, sell and share cannabis in the state. The petition language certified by Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine on Thursday, May 10, 2018, would keep the state’s medical marijuana program in place.
The petition now goes to the bipartisan Ohio Ballot Board, which must decide if the measure contains one or multiple ballot issues.
Supporters would then need to gather at least 305,591 signatures of registered Ohio voters to put the issue on the ballot. Organizers are aiming for the 2019 ballot.
Voters defeated a recreational marijuana initiative in 2015. Issue 3, the Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative, would have allowed adult-use cannabis for Ohioans 21 and older, but it would have granted just 10 franchises to grow and sell cannabis in Ohio. More than 63 percent of voters rejected Issue 3, according to Ballotpedia.
In response to the business monopoly threat posed by Issue 3, Ohio lawmakers placed Issue 2, a constitutional amendment, before voters in the same Nov. 3, 2015 election. Issue 2 would prevent Ohio’s initiative process from being used by individuals or organizations for financial gain. The Ohio Ballot Board would determine whether an initiative would lead to financial gain, then draft a competing issue that would ask voters to grant the petitioner an exemption from the law. Issue 2 was narrowly approved with 51.33 percent of the vote, according to Ballotpedia.