Pot gets its shot


Staff report

DARKE COUNTY — After an initial problem with the number of valid signatures collected on the petitions, Ohio voters will get the opportunity to vote “yea” or “nay” on the “Marijuana Legalization Amendment” on the Nov. 3, 2015, ballot.

On Wednesday, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted certified that the marijuana advocacy group ResponsibleOhio, which sought to place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot, had collected 44,185 additional, supplemental signatures.

The ballot measure would would legalize the production and usage of marijuana up to certain amounts for Ohioans 21 years of age and older. It would also authorize the construction and operation of 10 marijuana-growing farms and licensed distribution shops in the Buckeye State.

The supplemental signatures join the 276,082 valid signatures the group submitted on June 30, 2015 — which were certified but fell short of the required number — for a total of 320,267 valid signatures. ResponsibleOhio needed to gather at least 305,591 signatures in order to secure a place on the ballot, a number equal to 10 percent of the total number of votes cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, which was 2014.

As part of the total number of signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot, ResponsibleOhio was also required to have submitted signatures from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and within each of those counties, collect enough signatures equal to 5 percent of the total vote cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, in 2014. The group met this requirement in its first signature submission, having collected enough signatures to meet the 5 percent threshold in 73 counties.

The next step in the process is for the Ohio Ballot Board to convene to approve the ballot language that voters will consider this fall.

ResponsibleOhio Executive Director Ian James said, “It’s time for marijuana legalization in Ohio, and voters will have the opportunity to make it happen this November — we couldn’t be more excited.”

“Drug dealers don’t care about doing what’s best for our state and its citizens,” he said. “By reforming marijuana laws in November, we’ll provide compassionate care to sick Ohioans, bring money back to our local communities and establish a new industry with limitless economic development opportunities.”

James added, “We want to thank the elections officials who took the time and effort to go through the hundreds of thousands of signatures we submitted. This has been a Herculean effort to collect and review so many signatures, and we look forward to working with the Secretary’s Office to preserve the integrity of elections process.”

Ohioans to vote on marijuana in November

Staff report

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