Ohio Attorney General rejects petition for marijuana legalizatio - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Ohio Attorney General rejects petition for marijuana legalization amendment

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine rejected the petition for a proposed amendment Monday to the Ohio Constitution which would attempt to legalize marijuana use in Ohio (FOX19 NOW file) Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine rejected the petition for a proposed amendment Monday to the Ohio Constitution which would attempt to legalize marijuana use in Ohio (FOX19 NOW file)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine rejected the petition for a proposed amendment Monday to the Ohio Constitution which would attempt to legalize marijuana use in Ohio.

According to a release, The Ohio Attorney General's Office received a written petition on Feb. 13 to amend the Ohio Constitution, entitled "Medical Marijuana and Personal Use Amendment," from the group Responsible Ohio. The petition had 1,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters.

[Related: Petition signatures delivered Monday to legalize pot]

Under Responsible Ohio's Plan anyone over 21, who can pass a criminal background check, can own and operate a marijuana retail store. There would be more than 1,100 licenses will be available. A non-profit dispensary would be set up to ensure patients can get medicinal marijuana at cost. All products would be tested to ensure safety. All marijuana taxed at 15% flat rate.

Additionally, there would be 10 designated indoor grow facilities around the state.
 
"Patients who need access to medical marijuana for treatment can't get it right now. We believe that it should be legal that doing so
through our proposal will make Ohio safer, create jobs, and bring much needed revenue to our community," said Bolander.

Mike DeWine's office says that DeWine found at least two defects with the summary language within the petition:
  1. The summary language omits that the proposed amendment permits the sharing of specified amounts of marijuana between adults 21-years-old and older.
  2. The language did not accurately reflect the manner in which proposed taxes would be distributed.
According to a release, DeWine noted that at least one marijuana establishment proposed in the amendment may be within 1,000 feet of a "house of worship and/or a public playground," which would also conflict claims made in the summary language.

The Attorney General's Office did not attempt to validate the claims regarding locations due to the other deficiencies with the summary petition. 

"To have that message go out from those really important key leaders in our community across the state, de-bunking all of the myths that
might be out there, being factual, so he's a great ally to have on our side," said Haag.
 
Mary Haag with Prevention First is against the legalization of this drug and stresses marijuana is something that needs to be approved
by the FDA.
 
"It demonstrates efficacy of whatever the medicine may be," said Haag.

But it's clear there's still a shot to get this issue on the ballot.

"That's a nice victory for us so yeah it's one step and they have to go back to the drawing board a little bit," said Mary Haag with Prevention
First. 

"We believe that it is inevitable that marijuana will be legal," said Lydia Bolander with ResponsibleOhio.

Bolander with ResponsibleOhio stresses it's not uncommon for petition language to be rejected the first time around, and she stands
by this proposal.
 
"The voters should have the final decision on this issue, not just politicians," said Bolander.
 
ResponsibleOhio says they plan to address these language changes in the next few weeks and they'll have to submit that with an additional
one thousand signatures.
 
If approved, the group will have to collect 306,000 thousand signatures by July in order to get the proposal on the November ballot.

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