1 Ohio Legalization Effort Moves Forward, 2 Others Retreat

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While one campaign to legalize marijuana in Ohio says it has enough signatures to reach the 2015 ballot, two competing groups said they’ll be unable to get their initiatives before voters this year.

ResponsibleOhio said this week it has collected more than enough signatures to put a measure before voters this November that would legalize medical and recreational cannabis production, processing and sales.

The group said it’s collected 550,000 signatures, far more than the 305,591 needed to move the measure to the Nov. 3 ballot. ResponsibleOhio also said it has qualified in 70 of 88 counties. It only needed to qualify in half of Ohio counties.

ResponsibleOhio must still send the signatures to the state by the July 1 deadline to be put on the ballot. It has said it wants to collect between 750,000 and 800,000 signatures by then, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Many signatures are often deemed invalid, so campaigns typically try to have a large buffer.

Also this week, Better for Ohio – a campaign that sprung up in the wake of controversy around ResponsibleOhio’s plan – announced that it is ceasing its attempt to make the ballot, saying the cost of signature gathering is just too much.

Ohio Rights Group, a third entity whose ballot initiative would legalize MMJ and allow for production of industrial hemp, also has said it will be unable to collect enough signatures, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It will continue collecting signatures for 2016.