Responsible Ohioans for Cannabis' proposed constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana in Ohio was rejected on Wednesday for lacking the required 1,000 signatures of registered Ohio voters. (Mark Thiessen, Associated Press)
Feb 26, 2015
Cleveland.com - COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Wednesday rejected a second proposal that would legalize marijuana use in Ohio.
Responsible Ohioans for Cannabis submitted 1,497 signatures of Ohio voters with its proposed ballot language and summary to the attorney general. Only 883 signatures of the required 1,000 were valid, according to county boards of election.
"Because your submission did not contain the verified signatures of at least one thousand qualified electors, we must reject it," DeWine wrote to the group. "Due to your failure to meet the signature threshold, I have not made any determination concerning the fairness and truthfulness of your proposed summary."
DeWine rejected a different proposal from the group in 2013. At that time, DeWine cited several deficiencies in the summary. On Monday, DeWine rejected language from ResponsibleOhio, which is pitching a regulated marijuana industry supplied with pot from 10 growing sites.
ResponsibleOhio met the signature requirement and plans to submit revised language.
Responsible Ohioans for Cannabis leader Don McAdams said the group will collect signatures in the coming weeks and resubmit the language. He said the group is much more organized since collecting the first batch of signatures and is confident the amendment language will be approved.
"Our volunteers were geared up and ready to petition whether rejected or approved and I have confidence we'll be able to do it much quicker this time with the other group bringing this attention," McAdams said.
Getting language approved by the attorney general is the first step in putting an issue on a statewide ballot.
Once DeWine determines the amendment summary -- language that appears on petitions -- is a "fair and truthful" summary, the Ohio Ballot Board then decides whether the amendment is one issue or multiple issues.
Then, petitioners must collect more than 305,591 signatures of registered Ohio voters, meeting a threshold in 44 of Ohio's 88 counties. The deadline for the November ballot is July 1.
Responsible Ohioans for Cannabis, not to be confused with ResponsibleOhio, has proposed the most liberal legalization plan in Ohio to date. Its "End Ohio Cannabis Prohibition Act" would allow Ohioans to possess up to 99 marijuana plants and 99 kilograms of dried marijuana for personal use. Commercial growers would have no limit on what they could grow.