DeWine: Voters will decide whether to legalize marijuana use - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

DeWine: Voters will decide whether to legalize marijuana use

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (FOX19 NOW) Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (FOX19 NOW)

Days after he rejected a petition for a proposed amendment to Ohio's constitution to legalize marijuana, Attorney General Mike DeWine confidently predicted Thursday voters eventually will decide the controversial issue.

"It's coming to Ohio, this debate," he said in an appearance on FOX19 NOW Morning News. "Ohio voters are going to have an opportunity to vote on this."

Responsible Ohio's petition wording had two problems DeWine said he expects the group to address. The petition omitted language that the proposed amendment permits the sharing of specified amounts of marijuana between adults 21 and up. The language also did not accurately reflect the manner in which the proposed taxes would be distributed.

"They will go back and they will fix it," he said.

The group now must collect another 1,000 valid signatures of registered Ohio voters to resubmit the proposal. If the language is approved, Responsible Ohio will have to gather 305,591 signatures to get it on the November ballot.

Responsible Ohio has said they plan to address these language changes in the next few weeks and submit them with the additional signatures.

In the meantime, DeWine suggested voters educate themselves about the impacts legalizing marijuana in places like Colorado and Washington state, which began legal recreational sales last year.

"I think it's pretty much a horror story, frankly," DeWine said.

On another issue, police-involved shootings around the country are straining the relationship between law enforcement and the community they serve. In an effort to better train officers and continue that training, DeWine created the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission. They are studying the issue and make recommendations for increased and/or new training.

The panel is made up of a diverse group of community leaders and citizens from across the state including mental health professionals and Cincinnati City Councilman Christopher Smitherman.

Ohio only requires four additional training for police officers annually, which is lower than other professional like hair stylists, DeWine noted. The panel is focusing on making sure police have enough training on use of force situations and community relations.

The group's recommendations are expected in about a month or two. 

"All this group can do is make recommendations," he said, "then it's up to the state legislature, then its up to the governor and it's maybe up to the Ohio Police Officer Training Academy, which comes under the Ohio Attorney's Office and that academy sets the standards for training for law enforcement. So the report will come back, I think it will carry a lot of weight and then we've got to get it implemented."

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