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Ohio Cannabis Reforms to Move Forward by Bill or Ballot

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Activists in Ohio say they nearly have enough signatures to force the legislature to pass an adult-use cannabis bill or put an adult-use cannabis initiative on the 2022 ballot, the Ohio Capital-Journal reports.

Known in Ohio as an initiated statute, the Ohio Ballot Board gave organizers within the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol permission to move forward with gathering signatures in August. The process requires activists to gather 133,000 signatures. Once enough signatures are gathered and validated by state officials, the legislature has four months to act on the proposal. If they fail to pass the bill, the measure to cultivate, process, and distribute adult-use cannabis will appear in 2022 as a ballot initiative, the report says.

Speaking at the Ohio State University law school’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, attorney Thomas Haren, a representative of the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, said the group would have the required number of signatures by the end of the month.

“We think that marijuana reform is popular. It’s not a bipartisan issue. It’s a nonpartisan issue.” Haren via the Journal

The proposal would allow Ohioans to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and 15 grams of cannabis extract. Ohioans over 21-years-old would be allowed to purchase cannabis at retail locations and grow two plants at home per person, with a cap of four per household, according to the Journal report.

Ohio House Rep. Casey Weinstein (D) noted there has been a “tipping point” in the U.S. and the time to climb aboard was “yesterday.”

Earlier this month, a NORML/Gallup poll found support for legalizing cannabis at an all-time high of 68%. That poll may have prompted Weinstein to describe Ohio’s cannabis law as “a situation where we’re behind where Ohioans are.”

He said the initiated statute may provide a greater sense of “urgency” for the legislature to act.

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Author: Lukas Barfield