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Thursday, January 8, 2015

In Brief: Reviewing the Crowded Field of Ohio's Marijuana Legalization Campaigns

Posted By on Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 11:03 AM

Efforts to legalize marijuana in Ohio have never seen so much support — 87 percent of voters in favor of medical use and 51 percent in favor of legal recreational use, according to Quinnipiac University polling data — nor have there been so many avenues toward voter-sanctioned legalization. Although three's a crowd, as they say.

Today, Ohioans to End Prohibition (OTEP) announced plans for a November 2016 ballot initiative to repeal marijuana prohibition statewide. The group's goal is an "open, transparent, merit-based free market for cannabis in Ohio that emphasizes patients' rights and public health." Throughout the proposed Cannabis Control Amendment, the group emphasizes "intelligent regulation and vibrant competition."

The foil to that amendment is ResponsibleOhio's proposed November 2015 ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana production and limit the right to grow marijuana to "10 tightly regulated, heavily taxed growing locations." The de facto monopoly suggested in that language has irked many proponents of legalization, from OTEP to the Ohio Rights Group, which first focused its efforts on ballots in 2013. The Ohio Rights Group seeks a legal market for medical/therapeutic cannabis production and use.

Last year, the Ohio Rights Group failed to gather enough signatures to land its work on Ohio ballots, leading casual observers back to the notion that who knows how long this will take

Nothing's official yet, so we'll keep you updated as to how this year's crop of signature-gathering efforts goes. 

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