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Ohio Moving Forward on Full Legalization

Between ballot initiatives and legislation, cannabis reform is active in the Buckeye State.

A group called ResponsibleOhio is on track to collect more than 305,000 signatures by July 1st to put a full marijuana legalization measure to voters on the ballot this fall. The language hasOHleaf received criticism from marijuana-reform advocates (including Ohio native and pot supporter Drew Carey) for allowing just 10 producers in the state. Still, the ResponsibleOhio effort is well-financed with more than $20 million behind the effort.

Ballot initiatives are what won medical marijuana access in many states. Voter approved referendums are what ended cannabis prohibition in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Alaska and the District of Columbia.

Another measure, the “Legalize Marijuana and Hemp in Ohio,” also received initial certification from the State Attorney General this week to begin collecting petition signatures. However, under a tight deadline and with far less funding it is unknown if they will achieve the significant signature goal in time.

Meanwhile the Ohio legislature is trying to thwart any effort by voters.

The Columbus Dispatch reports:

“Supporters of three proposals to put legal marijuana in the Ohio Constitution are pushing for a spot on the fall ballot. But there is growing talk of a move by the General Assembly to undercut full legalization.

“Supporters of three proposals to put legal marijuana in the Ohio Constitution are pushing for a spot on the fall ballot. But there is growing talk of a move by the General Assembly to undercut full legalization.

“Sources say legislators want to create a more restrictive alternative to legalizing marijuana in Ohio than what is being proposed by private, for-profit groups as a way to undermine those approaches.

“One option is passage of House Bill 33 — a proposal that would legalize cannabis-derived medicines for those with seizure disorders — either in its present form or by slightly expanding it.

“Another option is a legislatively initiated ballot issue that would legalize marijuana for medical purposes but in ways far more restrictive than those proposals being discussed.

“Either of those legislative options, theoretically, would make the prospect of defeating a well-funded proposal by for-profit groups easier, sources said.”

The good news is that some form of marijuana policy change is coming soon to the Buckeye State.

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