Ohio recreational marijuana campaign cleared to collect signatures

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An Ohio campaign to legalize adult-use cannabis has gotten the go-ahead to begin collecting signatures to place a ballot question before voters in November 2019.

The campaign, Ohio Families for Change, got its initiative certified earlier this month for the 2019 ballot by the state attorney general’s office, and the Ohio Ballot Board signed off on it Thursday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

The initiative creates an amendment to the state constitution, so it would be much more difficult for Ohio lawmakers to alter than a statutory measure.

Some details from the proposed amendment:

  • The Legislature would have the authority to develop regulations for various aspects of the industry such as licensing.
  • Municipalities could put in place zoning restrictions, with businesses lawfully located only in precincts where a majority of residents voted in favor of the amendment.
  • There would be a residency requirement for marijuana businesses that would expire after seven years.
  • Adults 21 and older would be allowed to cultivate, possess, use, sell, share and transport cannabis.

Ohio Families for Change hoped to make the 2018 ballot but didn’t have enough time to gather the necessary signatures, at least 305,591, before a July deadline.

Because the campaign will try to qualify for next year’s ballot, the number of required signatures will likely increase. According to the newspaper, the number of signatures necessary to qualify is based on the amount of votes cast in the most recent gubernatorial election.