Ohio activists filed a revised petition Friday to put marijuana legalization on the 2022 ballot after the attorney general found the earlier summary language misleading. The development comes from the fact that some state legislators are also pushing a separate plan to legalize cannabis.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CTRMLA) launched its electoral efforts last month. But after filing a measure with more than the initial 1,000 signatures required to trigger a review, the attorney general said he was “unable to certify the proposed summary as fair and truthful”.
There were seven parts of the summary that the officer made identified considered problematic and concluded that it “did not properly inform a potential signatory of the nature and limitations of a proposed measure”. After reviewing the criticism, the activists made corrections and submitted the new language with another batch of signatures.
Attorney General Dave Yost (R) ‘s office now has an additional 10 days to review the revised summary language and decide whether attorneys can start collecting more signatures in order to qualify for the election.
Ohio voters turned down a 2015 legalization initiative and supporters campaigned put another measure on the 2020 ballot because of the corona pandemic. But in this round, the campaign is confident that it will prevail once it has cleared these procedural hurdles.
Unlike previous efforts, the new initiative is a legislative rather than a constitutional proposal. If supporters collect 132,887 valid signatures from registered voters, the legislature then has four months to decide on the measure, to reject it or to accept it in an amended version. If lawmakers don’t adopt the proposal, then organizers will have to collect an additional 132,887 signatures to put the proposal to the vote in front of voters in 2022.
The law proposed by CTRMLA would legalize possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis for adults 21 and older, and they could also have up to 15 grams of marijuana concentrates. Individuals could grow up to six plants for personal use, with a maximum of 12 plants per household.
It’s a remarkable departure from the failed 2015 reform initiative, criticized by proponents for an oligopolistic model that would have given exclusive control over cannabis production to the very financiers who would have paid to get the measure on the ballot.
Marijuana moment is already Prosecuted over 1,200 cannabis, psychedelics, and drug bills in state legislatures and in Congress this year. Patreon followers Committing at least $ 25 per month gives you access to our interactive maps, charts, and hearing calendar so you don’t miss any developments.
Learn more about our Marijuana Bill Tracker and become a Supporters on Patreon To get access.
A 10 percent sales tax would be levied on the sale of cannabis, with the proceeds divided to support social justice and employment programs (36 percent), places that enable adult marijuana businesses to operate in their area ( 36 percent), education and substance abuse of programs (25 percent), and administrative costs of system implementation (three percent).
According to the proposal, a cannabis control department would be established at the State Department of Commerce. It would have the power to “license, regulate, investigate and punish operators of adult cannabis use, adult test laboratories and persons who require a license”.
The move gives current medical cannabis companies a head start in the recreational market. Regulators would have to begin issuing licenses for adult use to qualified applicants running existing medical establishments within nine months of the law’s entry into force.
The department would also be required to issue 40 recreational cultivation licenses and 50 adult retailer licenses, “with a preference for applications participating in the social justice and cannabis employment program.” And it would empower regulators to issue additional licenses for the leisure market two years after the first operator is approved.
Individual communities could oppose opening new recreational cannabis businesses in their area, but they could not block existing medical marijuana businesses even if they wanted to add adult-sharing facilities. Employers could also maintain policies banning workers from using adult cannabis.
In addition, regulators would need to “reach an agreement with the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services” to provide “cannabis addiction services” that “educate and treat those with addiction problems related to cannabis or other controlled substances, including opioids . “
In terms of social justice, some proponents are concerned about the lack of specific language on automatic deletions to erase the files of people convicted of crimes that would be legalized under the law. However, it does include a provision requiring regulators to “study and fund” initiatives to reform criminal justice, including deletions.
If the measure is voted on, the results of local reform initiatives across the state will signal that it may find enough support to be successful.
As it is 22 jurisdictions have adopted local statutes So far, the penalty for possession of cannabis at a low level has been reduced from an offense punishable by imprisonment and a fine to the “lowest sentence allowed under state law”. And activists are Seek similar policy changes in dozens of cities this year, with several already collected enough signatures to qualify for the local election.
In the meantime, the Ohio legislature did last month officially introduced a law to legalize marijuana Ownership, production and sale – the first of its kind in state legislation.
The legislation would legalize the possession of up to five ounces of cannabis for adults 21 years and older and allow them to grow up to 12 plants for personal use. It will also include provisions to overturn previous convictions for ownership and cultivation that will be legalized under the measure.
Like the CTRMLA proposal, a 10 percent excise tax would be levied on the sale of marijuana. But after covering administrative costs, the revenue would be split between communities with at least one cannabis store (15 percent), counties with at least one shop (15 percent), K-12 education (35 percent) and infrastructure (35 percent).
Governor Mike DeWine (R) is likely to oppose legislative efforts given his track record. But a voter-led initiative could create another opportunity for advocates.
Ohio is one of many states where activists work put the question of legalization before the voters in 2022.
Read the full text of the revised Ohio marijuana legalization initiative below:
Photo courtesy of Brian Shamblen.