Ohio: Citizens’ Petition Seeks to Compel Lawmakers to Hold Marijuana Legalization Vote

Legalize it!

Advocates with the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol have turned in over 200,000 signatures from registered voters in an effort to compel state lawmakers to decide on a proposal that would allow adults to possess, grow, and purchase marijuana and marijuana-related products.

Following the validation of 132,887 signatures by state officials, lawmakers will have up to four months to consider the legalization measure. If lawmakers fail to act on the proposal, organizers will then need to collect an additional 132,887 signatures to place it before voters on the November 2022 ballot.

[UPDATE: In a January 3, 2022 letter, Secretary of State Frank LaRose said that proponents failed to gather a sufficient number of validated signatures. According to local reporting: “The group now has until Jan. 14 to collect 13,062 additional signatures under the state’s ‘cure’ period, the time during which signature campaigns can address deficiencies in the petitions they submitted. The signatures must come from voters who haven’t previously signed. Failing to meet the deadline would mean the group would have to start over, likely dooming the effort for this year.”]

In 2015, Ohio voters rejected a ballot proposal that sought to establish a limited legal market for the commercial production and sale of marijuana to adults. Several provisions of that measure were highly controversial, particularly those that sought to restrict the pool of licensed commercial growers to include only the initiative’s financial investors.

Earlier this month, a pair of GOP lawmakers introduced their own adult-use legalization bill, HB 498. A Democratic-sponsored legalization measure, HB 382, is also pending. Details on both bills is available from NORML’s Take Action Center.

Just weeks ago, members of the Ohio Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation, SB 261, to allow physicians to recommend medical cannabis to patients at their own discretion, including in instances where the patient may not be diagnosed with a qualifying illness.

Additional information is available from the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.