Ohio recreational marijuana campaign unveiled for 2018

A new statewide ballot measure campaign will take a second stab at legalizing recreational marijuana in Ohio.

According to a news release from Ian James – a key player in the ill-fated 2015 ResponsibleOhio legalization campaign – a statewide ballot issue push is underway.

The drive will be spearheaded by Jimmy Gould, founder and chairman of Green Light Acquisitions.

The new campaign must gather 305,592 signatures by July 4 to get the measure on the 2018 ballot, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

According to the news release, the initiative will be an amendment to the state constitution and will focus on “free-market adult consumption of marijuana.”

The 2015 ResponsibleOhio campaign failed by a whopping two-to-one margin at the ballot box, easily the biggest defeat handed to any statewide MJ legalization measure in recent years.

Many observers attributed the failure to the industry structure ResponsibleOhio proposed, which would have granted exclusive rights to marijuana cultivation in the state to just a handful of wealthy campaign donors, essentially creating a market oligopoly.

But Gould said this time would be different, the Enquirer reported, with no such provisions that would reward campaign donors.

The news that the group will attempt to again broaden the Buckeye State’s cannabis industry comes as Ohio’s medical marijuana program is still trying to get up and running.

Regulators recently finished issuing cultivation licenses and are sifting through nearly 400 applications for dispensary permits.