Only two steps remain for medical marijuana to be legalized in the state of Ohio.
First, Ohioans for Medical Marijuana has to collect 305,591 signatures, and voters have to approve it in November.
Last week, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine brought the issue one step closer by certifying the petition from Ohioans for Medical Marijuana. It was then sent to the Ohio Ballot Board to determine if it was a single ballot issue or a multiple ballot issue.
On Thursday, the Ohio Ballot Board certified the proposed constitutional amendment known as “Ohioans for Medical Marijuana” as a single ballot issue.
Petitioners will now need to collect 305,591 signatures, which is equal to 10 percent of the total vote cast for governor in 2014, in order to place the issue on the ballot.
As part of the total number of signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot, petitioners must also have collected signatures from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and within each of those counties, collect enough signatures equal to five percent of the total vote cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, 2014.
“What I hope we don’t end up with is that down the road we end up with something else we’re going to misuse and abuse,” Scioto County Health Commissioner Dr. Aaron Adams told the Daily Times. “We’ve been through that with prescription drugs and we go through it all the time with the illegal substances and it’s a world-overload feeling with us as we all well know, we have lived it every day of our lives here.”
Marijuana Policy Project Communications Director Mason Tvert says the initiative would allow patients with debilitating medical conditions to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it and protect them from arrest, prosecution, or discrimination with regard to housing, health care (such as organ transplants), and child custody; permit qualifying patients to grow a limited amount of marijuana for their medical use, designate a caregiver to grow it for them, or purchase medical marijuana from licensed and well-regulated dispensaries; maintain commonsense restrictions on the medical use of marijuana, such as prohibitions on public marijuana use and driving under the influence of marijuana; and establish a Medical Marijuana Control Division to oversee a tightly controlled system of licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation facilities, distributors, processing facilities, and testing facilities.
Jon Husted serves as the Chairman of the Ohio Ballot Board in his official capacity as the Ohio Secretary of State. Other members include State Senator Bill Coley, State Representative Kathleen Clyde, Former State Senator Nina Turner and Mr. William Morgan. Ballot Board meetings are open to the public.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.