Ohio Cannabis Rights amendment clears hurdle

G. Sam Piatt

May 18, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine Friday certified the petition for the proposed constitutional amendment submitted by the Ohio Rights Group dealing with the legalization of therapeutic marijuana in the state.

On May 7, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received a written petition to amend the Ohio Constitution by adding the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment. The submission was certified Friday as containing both the necessary 1,000 signatures from registered Ohio voters and a “fair and truthful” summary.

“Without passing upon the advisability of the approval or rejection of the measure to be referred, I hereby certify that the summary is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed constitutional amendment,” DeWine stated in a letter to the Ohio Ballot Board.

Once the summary language and initial signatures are certified, the Ohio Ballot Board must determine if the amendment contains a single issue or multiple issues. The petitioners must then collect signatures for each issue from registered voters in each of 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, equal to five percent of the total vote cast in the county for the office of United States President at the last presidential election. Total signatures collected statewide must also equal 10 percent of the total vote cast for the office of president at the last presidential election.

Dewine said the full text of Friday’s letter and of the amendment petitions submitted can be found at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/BallotInitiatives.

According to the Ohio Rights Group, a regulatory model for therapeutic cannabis was designed, proposed and advanced in the first Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment, which was rejected by the Ohio Attorney General due to its length. The group says it would have established an application and permitting system for Agricultural Cooperatives, Scientific Research Laboratories (testing for purity and content), Safety Compliance and Educational Facilities (like Oaksterdam University), Infused Product Manufacturers and Medical Cannabis Retail Establishments.

How soon would the regulations be established?

In information provided by the Ohio Rights Group, constitutional amendments in Ohio are required to appear on a fall ballot and go into effect 30 days after passage.

Usage is restricted to “eligible residents.” A person qualifies as an “eligible resident” by being the age of majority (at least 18 years old in Ohio), an Ohio resident and “diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition,” as defined under Section 2 (E). More conditions can be added by either the Commission or the General Assembly.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.