COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A new effort to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio is underway Monday.
Advocates of a measure called administrative cannabis, for example, the Alcohol Amendment, presented an underlying request and 1,000 marks to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for audit. A long procedure anticipates this undertaking, which supporters need in the November 2020 polling form.
The constitutional amendment would allow adults over the age of 21 to purchase, possess and consume lesser amounts of marijuana, including six marijuana plants.
In 2015, voters defeated a ballot issue to legalize marijuana in the state, although some opposition parties were concerned about the exclusive rights granted to growing sites under the plan.
The state’s current medical marijuana program, approved in 2016 and now more than a year away, will remain intact if the legalization effort is passed.
Ohio activists formally file an action to legalize marijuana before voters this year
Reform advocates in Ohio took the first step toward a marijuana legalization effort before voters on Monday this year.
The “Regulate Alcohol-Like Marijuana” action will allow adults 21 years of age and older to purchase, own and cultivate cannabis for personal use. One ounce of possession is covered, and individuals can grow up to six plants, three of which mature.
A week after the initiative was initially announced, the campaign filed a petition with the Ohio Attorney General seeking legalization on the November ballot. The Attorney General’s Office has 10 days to certify the ballot language.
Under this program, the state Department of Commerce is responsible for regulating the marijuana market and granting licenses to cannabis businesses.
The legislature will be empowered to levy a special excise tax on marijuana sales. At least 25 percent of that proceeds will go towards a commission to make recommendations for improving social equality in the industry. Half of the proceeds will be allocated to “state-local funds,” and at least 10 percent will go to local jurisdictions, which allow them to operate cannabis retail outlets.
Although individual municipalities can ban marijuana businesses “by enacting an ordinance, or by initiating or referencing,” the issue will be subject to voter approval on the local ballot in the general election year.
“Adults should be allowed to consume marijuana responsibly,” said Tom Haren, general counsel, and campaign spokesman.
To qualify, attorneys must collect approximately 443,000 valid signatures from registered voters by July 1. Considering how late this effort is, and how large the state of Ohio is, it will require extensive funding for signature gathering.