Ohio MMJ Legalization Efforts Back on Track

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A month ago, it seemed efforts to get medical marijuana on the 2012 ballot in Ohio were on the verge of stalling. State election board officials rejected initiatives from two separate groups that submitted petitions to move the process forward, throwing out most of the signatures in one case and taking issue with the wording of the proposed ballot in the other.

Now, however, one of the groups has received the initial go-ahead from the Ohio Ballot Board, allowing it to begin collecting the 385,000 valid signatures needed to let voters decide whether to make pot legal for patients with certain medical conditions.

It’s a tall order, to be sure. Getting that many signatures for a controversial issue will be challenging. But backers of the bill are confident that a big chunk of the population in Ohio supports legalizing medical marijuana.

Under the proposed measure, called the Ohio Alternative Treatment Amendment, patients with certain medical conditions – including cancer, HIV and AIDS, glaucoma and Parkinson’s disease – could have up to 3.5 ounces of marijuana at any given time. Patients would get their medical marijuana from “safe access centers,” which would be barred from using depictions of pot or using the word “cannabis” in signs that can be seen by the public.

Groups and lawmakers in several other states, including Florida, North Carolina and even Alabama, are pushing to legalize medical marijuana in 2012 as well.