The Sensible Marijuana campaign was four signatures short of qualifying the measure to be voted on last month. However, findings suggest that officials incorrectly marked several signatures as invalid.
Ohio lawmakers filed a bill to legalize cannabis in the state recently.
The move comes on the heels of a recent push to place a full marijuana legalization initiative on the Ohio ballot, with activists nearing completion of the first phase of their signature drive for the cause.
The legislation was formally introduced by Reps. Jamie Callender (R) and Ron Ferguson (R), almost two months following the first announcement of their plan to legalize the plant.
Ohio Adult Use Act would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to 50 grams of cannabis. Moreover, the cultivation of up to six plants, with only three being mature, would be permitted for personal use under the new bill, as well as gifting up to 25 grams of marijuana between adult consumers without remuneration.
Money from a 10% tax on marijuana sales would go to the state’s general revenue, law enforcement, mental health, addiction treatment and recovery services.
The state Department of Commerce would regulate the new recreational marijuana and existing medical cannabis program and issue business licenses through a new Division of Marijuana Control.
The new bill would also limit regulators to approve only one retail cannabis dispensary license per 60,000 residents in the state up until January 1, 2027.
While provisions to promote social equity by expunging prior cannabis convictions or prioritizing licensing for communities most impacted by prohibition were left out from the introduced version of the bill, a spokesperson in the lawmaker’s office told Marijuana Moment that “it is still the plan to add any needed language on the subject once we get it to committee. Conversations on modifications are continuing, but with Thanksgiving here and the end of the year approaching, we wanted to get the ball rolling with introduction.”
Ohio Activists Prove Local Marijuana Decriminalization Initiative Had Enough Signatures After All
In the meantime, marijuana activists in the Buckey State recently proved that they had indeed turned in enough valid signatures to put a local decriminalization initiative before Kent voters after having missed the 2021 ballot due to a verification error made by county officials, as The Portager reported.
According to The Portage County Board of Elections, the Sensible Marijuana campaign was four signatures short of qualifying the measure to be voted on last month. Kent is in Portage County.
However, activists’ findings suggest that officials incorrectly marked several signatures as invalid.
A bipartisan team asked by the Portage County Board to examine the three-part petitions from the Sensible Marijuana petition found that the ballot initiative had garnered 815 signatures, well above 806 necessary to trigger a referendum.
“This was the outcome we expected from the beginning,” said Sensible Kent campaign manager Michael Fricke.
Now that the Board of Elections is expected to notify Kent City Council of its updated findings, it remains to be seen what the council will do next.