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Ohio Activists Want Legalization on the Ballot in November

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Activists in Ohio are taking another shot at legalizing marijuana in the state, but this time around they may have a better chance. Medical marijuana is already legal in the state, but many patients are frustrated with the program that was put in place by the legislature – and its lack of access. That alone could be enough to raise sufficient support for full legalization, which would allow thousands more to have access to the plant.

“If you’re a patient in Ohio, it’s hard to participate in Ohio’s medical marijuana program,” said Tom Haren, general counsel and spokesman for the campaign. “We were promised a program that worked.”

The proposed constitutional amendment, which is being called the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Amendment, was submitted to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office this week for review, along with an initial 1,000 signatures. That gives Attorney General David Yost 10 days to certify the ballot language, allowing them to continue collecting signatures in hopes of putting the issue on the November 2020 ballot.  

If passed, the amendment would allow adults 21 and older to legally buy, possess, consume and grow cannabis – within specific limitations, of course. It would also permit adults of legal age to possess up to one ounce of flower and/or 8 grams of concentrate. Adults would also be able to grow up to six plants in their home, but only three could be mature at a time. 

Being allowed to cultivate your own plants at home is something the state does not currently allow for medical marijuana patients. It seems that the Ohio medical marijuana program is too restrictive for most patients, with almost 30 percent of registered patients saying they haven’t bought anything from a state-legal medical marijuana dispensary. Home growing and a less restrictive adult-use market would help eliminate these issues, rather than waiting years for the state to do something about it. 

“Adults should be permitted to responsibly consume marijuana,” Haren said in a press release.

Medical marijuana was legalized in Ohio in 2016, and it took 3 years for sales to finally begin in 2019. And yet, a large percentage of patients can’t get the medicine they need. To get the amendment on the ballot for this year, activists will need to gather roughly 443,000 valid signatures from registered voters by July 1st. It won’t be an easy task, but if the activists behind the amendment can pull it off, then this ballot initiative stands a fair chance at being approved by voters in November.

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