ResponsibleOhio Effort Over, Co-Founder Joins MMJ Task Force

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The group behind last year’s failed bid to legalize marijuana in Ohio will dissolve completely, despite vowing to take another shot at legalization in 2016.

ResponsibleOhio co-founder Jimmy Gould said the group’s leaders have determined that the best way to legalize marijuana in the state is via the legislature.

Gould and Chris Stock, the lawyer who authored the failed legalization measure, will join a 15-member task force announced Thursday by the state’s House of Representatives, reported.

The task force has been set to study and make recommendations on the feasibility of legalizing medical marijuana.

Gould took steps Thursday to highlight how the task force will approach the issue of medical and recreational marijuana industry in a different manner than ResponsibleOhio did.

“We spent a lot of money, a lot of time, and we heard what the public said,” Gould said at a press conference announcing the task force. “ResponsibleOhio is not a part of this; it doesn’t exist.”

Gould and Stock join both friends and foes on the task force, including representatives from the State Medical Association, unions, business groups, hospitals, law enforcement and Betty Montgomery, the former state attorney general.

The task force will hold its first meeting on Jan. 28 and has a March 31 deadline by which it must send recommendations to the full House. That timeline allows for the legislative body to act on any resulting bills during the session.

The Ohio Senate also will soon start its own, separate forums on medical marijuana.