Ohio recreational cannabis group claims enough signatures to qualify for ballot

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Organizers of a campaign to legalize recreational cannabis in Ohio said they’ve submitted more than enough signatures from registered voters to qualify for the November ballot.

The campaign on Thursday submitted 6,545 to state election officials, campaign spokesperson Tom Haren said in a statement.

That total is almost 10 times as many signatures as the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol needed.

Earlier this summer, the campaign turned in roughly 223,000 signatures to the Ohio secretary of state’s office, which told the campaign that only 123,367 signatures were valid – 679 shy of the total required to put legalization before voters.

The campaign was given 10 days to gather more signatures.

“This submission validates what we’ve said all along: regulating marijuana is popular in Ohio,” Haren said.

“We’re looking forward to giving Ohio voters a chance to make their voices heard at the ballot this fall.”

Ohio voters face a busy summer and fall.

During a special election on Aug. 8, voters must weigh in whether to pass a state constitutional amendment that would increase the threshold to pass future constitutional amendments to 60% of the vote rather than a simple majority.

And this fall, if the recreational marijuana legalization measure qualifies, it will be on the same ballot as a controversial abortion-rights measure that’s expected to boost voter turnout in what could otherwise be a quiet off-year election.

Conventional wisdom – and past results – suggest legalization’s chances are highest when voter turnout is strong.

Ohio could be the third state to legalize recreational cannabis in 2023, following in the footsteps of Delaware and Minnesota.

Both states legalized adult use via state lawmakers rather than voters.