Ohio Secretary of State certifies marijuana legalization initiative to the state legislature

The Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) announced on Jan. 28 that an initiative proposing the legalization of marijuana had submitted enough valid signatures to be presented to the state legislature. 

The initiative would enact a state law to legalize the cultivation, processing, sale, purchase, possession, home growth, and use of recreational marijuana for adults 21 years of age or older. Adults would be authorized to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and up to 15 grams of marijuana concentrates. Individuals would be able to grow six marijuana plants at home or up to 12 plants per household. The initiative would also enact a 10% cannabis tax rate on adult-use sales and dedicate revenue to fund a cannabis social equity and jobs program.

In Ohio, initiated state statutes are indirect, meaning they must be considered by the state legislature. The legislature has four months to adopt, reject, or take no action on the measure. If the legislature rejects the measure or takes no action, sponsors have 90 days following the legislature’s four-month deadline to collect 132,887 additional signatures.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the campaign behind the initiative, submitted an initial round of 206,943 signatures on Dec. 20, 2021. Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced on Jan. 3 that 119,825 signatures were valid–13,062 less than the number required. In Ohio, campaigns are given a one-week cure period to collect additional signatures, meaning the campaign had until Jan. 14, 2022, to submit additional signatures. The campaign announced on Jan. 13 that they had submitted an additional 29,918 signatures.

The secretary of state announced on Jan. 28 that the campaign had collected a total of 136,729 valid signatures, which means the campaign had a signature validity rate of 57.7%.

Tom Haren, a spokesman for the campaign, said, “We are ready and eager to work with Ohio legislators over the next four months to legalize the adult use of marijuana in Ohio.”

Ohio legalized medical marijuana in 2016. Ohio voters rejected a recreational marijuana initiative in 2015 by a margin of 63.65% to 36.35%.

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