Ohio recreational marijuana drive takes promising step toward legalization

Recreational marijuana legalization advocates in Ohio submitted 29,918 additional signatures by this week’s deadline to bolster efforts to get a referendum before lawmakers or on the fall ballot.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol had submitted 206,943 signatures on Dec. 20, 2021, but subsequently was notified it needed roughly 13,000 more signed names to qualify for the next round of the process.

With the addition of nearly 30,000 signatures, “we feel confident that we will meet the signature requirements,” spokesman Tom Haren, a cannabis attorney, said in a statement.

The ballots now need to be validated by local election boards and certified by the Ohio secretary of state.

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If that goes as planned, the statute will be presented to the Ohio General Assembly for consideration.

Should lawmakers opt not to pass the bill as is, the coalition will need to collect an additional 132,877 signatures to get the initiative on the Nov. 8 ballot.