On December 20, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted 206,943 signatures to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office for a voting initiative to legalize marijuana in the state.
The measure is an indirectly initiated state law, which means that the state legislature will have the ability to pass the law without it going to the polls. The number of signatures required to submit the initiative to the state legislature is 132,887, or 3% of the votes cast in the previous governor election. The initiative petition must also meet the state’s signature distribution requirement, which requires that half of the signature requirement be met in at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties. If the state legislature does not act on or reject the proposed law, the campaign would have 90 days to collect an additional 132,887 signatures to place the measure on the November 2022 ballot.
The deadline for state law proposals initiated to file signature petitions was December 24. The marijuana initiative was the only proposed state law to be approved for signature collection by the Ohio Ballot Board.
Tom Haren, campaign spokesperson, said, “The success of our petition campaign shows how eager Ohioans are to end the ban and legalize adult marijuana use. We look forward to receiving the results of the Secretary of State’s review and look forward to starting to work with lawmakers on this important issue.
The initiative would enact state law to legalize the cultivation, processing, sale, purchase, possession, domestic growth and use of marijuana for recreational purposes for adults 21 years of age or older. Adults can have up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and up to 15 grams of marijuana concentrate. Individuals could grow six marijuana plants at home or up to 12 plants per household.
The initiative would also enact a 10% cannabis tax rate on sales to adults, with proceeds to fund “a social equity and employment program for cannabis” to “provide financial assistance and support for license applications to those most directly and hardest hit by the application of marijuana. – related laws. It would also fund the Community Cannabis Fund, the Drug Addiction Fund and the Division of Cannabis Control (created by the initiative to oversee the state’s cannabis industry).
In 2015, voters in Ohio rejected an initiated constitutional amendment that would have legalized the limited sale and use of marijuana and created 10 facilities with exclusive commercial rights to grow marijuana. The voting margin was 63.65% against 36.35%. The initiative was sponsored by ResponsibleOhio PAC.
As of December 2021, 18 states and Washington, DC, had legalized recreational marijuana: 12 through citizens’ initiatives, one through a constitutional amendment referred to in law, and six through legislative bills. law approved by state legislatures and signed by governors. Thirteen other states had decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana. In these states, while recreational use of marijuana was illegal, the violation typically results in a fine rather than arrest or jail time for first-time offenders.