Attorney General Mike De Wine has certified the petition for Ohio marijuana legalization, from Grassroots Ohioans, an organization of citizens led by Athens County lawyer Don E. Wirtshafter. DeWine originally rejected the language on the first petition. Now with the updated version approved, the Ohio Ballot Board will decide if the amendment will be a single issue or multiple issues on the ballot. If it is approved as a single issue, Grassroots Ohioans will have to gather 305,591 signatures from registered Ohio voters by July 6th in order to qualify for the November ballot.
The Amendment from Grassroots Ohioans
This particular petition for Ohio marijuana legalization would allow citizens to grow, buy, and use marijuana for medicinal purposes. It would also legalize industrial farming of hemp, a cousin of marijuana that doesn’t contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient that makes you high. Hemp is used to make many everyday items from textiles to paper. The proposal would allow farmers the rights to grow the lucrative crop. Another major component of the petition would restrict law enforcement from citing citizens based on having marijuana metabolites in the blood or urine. The reason for this is that marijuana metabolites can stay in a person’s system for weeks after use and therefore can’t indicate whether a person is intoxicated.
The Amendment from Ohioans for Medical Marijuana
Another medical marijuana proposal was accepted by the Ohio Ballot Board. This proposal is led by the group Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, who are backed by the national group Marijuana Policy Project, and they have already been collecting signatures. This proposal allows approximately 215,000 people with listed medical conditions to use marijuana medicinally. Patients would need a doctor’s approval and they would be allowed to grow their own marijuana plants or buy medicinal marijuana from a dispensary. There would be restricted use in public and driving. They would also create a Medical Marijuana Control Division to monitor and regulate the industry.
Details About Licenses
On the growing front, Ohioans for Medical Marijuana’s proposal would allow for 15 large scale commercial growing licenses to be issued that would have a $500,000 application fee. There would be an unlimited number of small scale growers’ licenses available across Ohio and patients would be allowed to grow up to 6 plants and be in possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. It’s a fairly standard proposal, similar to the ones approved in many other states across the country.
Ohio Marijuana Legalization with Citizen Regulation
Overall, the proposal is very similar to Wirtshafter’s petition but the newly approved Grassroots Ohioans amendment doesn’t require a doctor’s permission to purchase medical marijuana and the patient doesn’t need to register with the state. The Ohio marijuana state laws and regulations would be created through a citizen-initiated statute as opposed to the Ohio Constitution. The other significant difference would be the legalization of industrial hemp.
Grassroots Ohioans have already started gathering signatures and plan to continue with an aim for 2017 if they miss the July deadline. Their initiative is being pushed directly by citizens with regulations in line with what many citizens would prefer. The petition is slanted towards the freedom of the people to choose their desired herbal medical treatment without being monitored. After all, marijuana and hemp are plants belonging to the Earth and everyone living on it. One way or another, it seems that Ohio marijuana legalization is just on the horizon now.