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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Update: Weed vs. Weed

Posted By on Thu, Feb 2, 2012 at 3:52 PM


We have a correction on this. The Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment ballot language that originally was rejected by the Ohio Attorney General allowed for double the pot than specified in the competing group's ammendment. But no longer. The recently approved version of the proposed amendment that may go before voters doesn't put a limit on the amount of weed a patient could have. The amount would presumably be decided by the state. Exact wording noted below.

Supporters of medical marijuana, you’ve got some homework to do: Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has approved a second ballot initiative to legalize pot in Ohio, thus increasing the likelihood that you’ll have not one, but two ways to make ganja legal this year.

And what were those two ways again? The Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment wants state-level control of medical marijuana, allows patients to squirrel away up to 7 ounces of pot, says that, "eligible residents shall have the right to use medical Cannabis to alleviate their suffering and to possess an amount of medical Cannabis sufficient to meet their medical needs." A spokeswoman says they expect to be on the November ballot.

But the Cannabis Amendment has its critics — most notably backers of the competing Ohio Alternative Treatment Amendment, which was approved in October.

“From studying the history of other states, the bureaucratic obstruction of medical marijuana laws after passage is very strong,” says Alternative Treatment spokesman Ryan Maitland. “If you think the casinos saw delays in implementation, you haven’t seen anything yet.” He adds that the cannabis laws that have faced the most delay are those that dictate a “top down” regulatory approach, which his group is not cool with.

The Alternative Treatment camp favors local regulation and would allow patients to possess only 3.5 ounces of weed. “Our goal is to bring forth an idea that is crafted in a centrist manner, so that a vast majority of Ohioans can support it,” Maitland says.

Both groups require nearly 400,000 signatures by July to get a ballot spot come November. Both say they have hundreds of volunteers but need more, and while Cannabis Amendment backers are mum on funding, the Alternative Treatment group says it’s shaking down every pot fan it can find.

“With the great number of signatures needed in Ohio, they will have to have paid petitioners,” says Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project, a national organization that has supported similar movements in other states. He adds that neither Ohio group will see his money: The Policy Project is throwing its dough behind Colorado, where legalization of recreational pot use is up for bids.

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