Ohio Ballot Board certifies marijuana ballot initiative, petitio - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Ohio Ballot Board certifies marijuana ballot initiative, petitioners can collect signatures

(Toledo News Now) - Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted's office said on Friday the Ohio Ballot Board certified the ballot initiative sponsored by ResponsibleOhio concerning the legalization of marijuana as a single issue.

The ballot initiative would amend the Ohio constitution to make it legal for anyone over the age of 21 to purchase marijuana for recreational and medical use from retail outlets across the state.

ResponsibleOhio members say the amendment promises 10 growing sites to campaign investors. They would be allowed to sell the marijuana at retail stores and medical marijuana facilities.

Most tax revenue from sales would go toward local governments to pay for roads, police and other public services. Another portion would go toward marijuana research and addiction services.

The Northwest Ohio Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) isn't ready to endorse this amendment. They claim other ballot initiatives are expected.

"The illegalization of a plant is unnecessary," said Ken Sharp of Northwest Ohio NORML. 

Sharp says he believes Ohio is part of a national trend to decriminalize weed.

"It's been mostly due to hype and prejudice and for certain business reasons rather than for any real, legitimate health, safety or public interest reasons," he said.

The Attorney General's Office also certified the ballot language a week ago.

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.

They must also collect 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 2014 election.

The signatures must be submitted for approval by July.

Read the full ballot issue language here.

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