The coalition to regulate marijuana like alcohol can begin collecting signatures from voters for a passed bill that would legalize recreational marijuana use in Ohio for adults 21 and older – when it is finally passed by lawmakers.
CRMLA spokesman and lawyer for Frantz Ward, Tom Haren, said the Ohio Ballot Board approved the statute’s summary language during its session on Monday, August 30th.
This action follows the requisite approval from the Ohio Attorney General, which was granted on August 20. The certification of the working group took place after a previous rejection of the summary language on August 5th.
These permits pave the way for petitioners to collect signatures.
“We are satisfied with today’s result and believe that the electoral committee made the right decision,” said Haren. “We look forward to beginning the signature collection process and working with our state lawmakers to create a safe, legal, and highly regulated cannabis market in Ohio.”
CRMLA now needs to collect 132,887 signatures (in addition to the 1,000 required to run the initiative through the AG’s office) to send the proposal to the Ohio General Assembly. Haren has said the goal is to get to that point by late December or early January.
Once officially posted to lawmakers, state lawmakers have four months to review the law, which would: legalize and regulate the cultivation, manufacture, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products to adults aged 21 and over; Allows self-cultivation for adults aged 21 and over with a limit of six plants per person and 12 plants per household; impose a 10% excise tax on adult (ie non-medical) sales at the point of sale; and create a framework for the use of tax revenues.
If the bill is not passed, CRMLA will need to collect another new batch of 132,887 signatures (or a total of 265,774, 6% of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election) to be considered for placement in November 2022.
Of course, CRMLA would prefer lawmakers approve their law. Legalization through this route would take less time and resources than putting something before voters – which CRMLA wanted to do earlier in 2020.
The group’s goal was to get marijuana legalized last year through a constitutional amendment to be presented to voters during the fall 2020 presidential election.
However, shortly before the COVID-19 bans were imposed, the AG rejected the summarizing language for this initiative. This hampered the ability to collect signatures and caused those efforts to fizzle out, at least until the legislative efforts that were initiated were launched this summer.
Aside from being in line with public opinion – 91% of US adults believe marijuana should be legal for either medical or recreational use, according to the Pew Research Center – legalizing adult marijuana could also be a boon for those working in Buckeye State Be a cannabis company.
Ohio has a medical program that first began selling in January 2019. However, overall sales activity was hampered by factors such as poor access to pharmacies and high prices. State regulators are trying to solve these problems by more than doubling the number of marijuana retailers in the state from fewer than 60 to about 130. It is believed that increasing the number of pharmacies will improve patient / customer access and lower prices with additional competition. The maximum number of pharmacies a business can operate in Ohio is five.
Regardless of those efforts, some Northeast Ohio lawmakers recently introduced their own laws to legalize recreational marijuana and establish protocols to monitor facets of the program, which you can learn more about here.