Marijuana legalization group turns in thousands of new signatures for Ohio's November ballot
The group that wants Ohio voters to legalize marijuana on the November ballot was short signatures when it filed petitions last month. The group has now filed eight times the number of signatures that need to be valid to get the proposed law before voters this fall.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted 222,198 signatures to the Secretary of State's office last month. It needed 124,046 valid signatures, and with a validation rate of 57.7%, it fell short by 679. The group used the 10-day window allowed under law to gather more signatures. It submitted more than 6,545 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office, which now has to see if the group has met the valid signature threshold for the law to be before voters.
The group has proposed regulating recreational marijuana for Ohioans over 21 who would be permitted to possess 2.5 ounces of pot and grow plants at home. It would also impose a 10% tax to go to addiction treatment, administrative costs and social justice programs.
Lawmakers had been presented with the proposal in January and had four months to enact it. When they didn't enact it by May 3, the group had 90 days to gather signatures to put it before voters. Because this is a proposed law, a majority of lawmakers could repeal it if it passes, and several prominent Republicans have been on the record against legalization of recreational marijuana. But coalition spokesman Tom Haren said he's confident voters will approve it by a wide margin so there won't be any attempt at repeal.
If the valid signature threshold is reached, the proposed law would be on the same ballot as a constitutional amendment on reproductive rights and abortion access. Ohioans will decide Issue 1 next week, which would require 60% voter approval for future constitutional amendments. So regardless of what happens with that amendment on Aug. 8, the marijuana legalization law would only need a simple majority to pass.