Local news station WCMH reports that “the Ohio Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol got the greenlight to gather the remaining 124,046 signatures needed to get the cannabis question on the ballot in November,” after lawmakers in the Buckeye State “missed their Wednesday deadline to pass a citizen-authored initiative to legalize the drug.”
“We’re building on an existing medical marijuana program that is popular, shown that it can be effective and provide safe, tested products to Ohio medical patients,” coalition spokesperson Tom Haren told the station. “This is a framework that works and will provide a quick alternative to an illicit market.”
Lawmakers in the Ohio General Assembly had until Wednesday to get something done on cannabis following last year’s agreement between the state and the coalition to punt the issue to 2023.
Under the agreement, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol kept the more than 140,000 signatures it obtained last year, which ensures that it doesn’t have to start from square one.
As WCMH explained back in January, “Secretary of State Frank LaRose reintroduced an act to legalize, tax and regulate the adult use of cannabis…to the General Assembly,” and if “the Republican Statehouse supermajority fails to adopt the measure within four months, the question could come before Ohio voters in November 2023.”
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol now has until July 5 to gather the remaining signatures in order to qualify for the November ballot.
According to the coalition’s official website, the proposed measure would “Legalize and regulate the cultivation, manufacturing, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products to adults ages 21 and up; [and] legalize home grow for adults ages 21 and up with a limit of six plants per person and 12 plants per residence.”
Here’s more on what the proposed law would achieve, via the coalition, including “a 10% cannabis tax rate on adult-use sales that will be used for”:
“Social Equity and Jobs Programs (36%) – potential to generate an estimated $150 million or more annually for social equity and jobs programs in Ohio, making this one of the most robust social equity provisions of any cannabis law in the country
Funding for Dispensary Host Communities (36%) – potential to generate $150 million or more annually for the communities who have adult-use cannabis dispensaries, making this one of the largest contributions to communities in Ohio history
Addiction Treatment and Education (25%) – potential to generate $104 million or more annually to research and treat substance abuse in Ohio, one of the leading causes of deaths in Ohio
Regulatory and Administrative Costs (3%) – a small portion would go to the Division of Cannabis Control to fund the regulatory and administrative costs of overseeing the adult use cannabis industry in Ohio.”
More than 60% of Ohio voters rejected a ballot measure in 2015 that would have legalized recreational cannabis in the state, but there is reason to believe that this time might be different.
A Spectrum News/Siena College Research Institute poll last year found that 60% of voters in the state are in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The survey showed that big majorities of both major parties are on board with legalization, with 79% of Democrats in support of the idea and 61% of Ohio Republicans.