Ohio marijuana legalization question falls short on signatures for fall ballot, gets 10 more days

25 July 2023

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A proposal to legalize adult use of marijuana in Ohio fell short Tuesday of the signatures it needed to make the fall statewide ballot. Backers will have 10 days to gather more.

Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose determined the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol was short by 679 of the 124,046 signatures required to put the question before voters on Nov. 7.

His declaration marks just the latest twist in the proposal’s long fight to become law.

LaRose first submitted petitions to the Ohio General Assembly on behalf of the coalition in January 2022, triggering a four-month countdown for lawmakers to act. Republican legislative leaders didn’t, and lawmakers asserted that the group’s petitions had arrived too late for 2022 ballots.

A lawsuit and settlement ensued under which the group agreed to wait until this year.

The ballot measure proposes allowing adults 21 and over to buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and to grow plants at home. A 10% tax would support administrative costs, addiction treatment, municipalities with dispensaries and social equity and jobs programs.

If the issue passes, Ohio would become the 24th state to legalize cannabis for adult use. The outcome of a special election Aug. 8 on whether to raise the bar for passing future constitutional amendments wouldn’t impact the marijuana question, since it was advanced through the citizen initiated statute process.

Marijuana has been legal for medical use in the state since 2016.

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