Ohio MJ Push in Jeopardy Due to Signature Shortfall

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

ResponsibleOhio, the controversial campaign to legalize medical and recreational marijuana this year in Ohio, failed to gather enough qualifying signatures to make the November ballot.

The group now has 10 days to gather another 29,509 valid signatures of registered voters or else its legalization bid will fizzle.

ResponsibleOhio gathered nearly 700,000 signatures and needed only 305,591 to make the ballot, giving it a huge buffer. But it wasn’t enough: The Ohio Secretary of State’s office on Monday announced that only around 276,000 signatures the campaign turned in were valid.

Campaign spokeswoman Faith Oltman said most of the signatures that were disqualified likely came from voters who either aren’t registered or are registered at different addresses than they listed on the campaign’s petitions.

ResponsibleOhio Executive Director Ian James said in a statement that his team of 200 staffers will be “working diligently” to get the remaining number in order to make the 2015 ballot.

The statement also suggested that the campaign’s records don’t jibe with the Secretary of State’s findings. Campaign organizers said around 40,000 signatures “remain unaccounted for.”

James said the campaign will take the issue to the State Supreme Court to ask for a ruling on the discrepancy but will continue collecting signatures in the meantime.