Ohio marijuana legalization petitions for fall election issue rejected

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost rejected petitions submitted by a group that wants to put a marijuana legalization issue on the November 2020 ballot.

The Campaign Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol disputed Yost’s assertions that the petition language isn’t fair and accurate and asked Yost to reconsider.

“While the Attorney General’s letter is a temporary setback, we are still within our internal timeline to achieve ballot access in 2020,” the campaign said in a written statement.

RELATED: Group pushing for ballot issue to legalize marijuana in Ohio

The campaign organizers can revise the language, gather 1,000 initial voter signatures and re-submit it to Yost for review. Once petition language is approved, the Ohio Ballot Board determines whether the proposal is one or multiple issues.

If it clears those two hurdles, organizers then need to collect 442,958 valid voter signatures from at least 44 of 88 counties by July 1 to qualify for the November 2020 ballot.

The proposed constitutional amendment would legalize marijuana use for adults 21 and older; allow home growing of up to six plants, including three mature flowering plants; allow individuals to possess up to one ounce; and require the state to regulate the industry substantially like it does alcohol. It would prohibit public use and private property owners would be allowed to prohibit use.

Ohio voters last weighed in on legalizing marijuana in November 2015 when they rejected a constitutional amendment that would have designated 10 investor-owned growing areas. State Issue 3, the ResponsibleOhio plan, was defeated in a stunning landslide 65 percent to 35 percent on Nov. 3, 2015. It was opposed by business, health, civic and political leaders as well as pro-pot advocates.

Ohio lawmakers crafted a legal medical marijuana law in 2016 and the first dispensaries opened in January 2019.

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