Pot legalization group still facing challenges - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Pot legalization group still facing challenges

Petitions could be delivered as early as Monday as a push to legalize marijuana grows in Ohio. (FOX19 NOW file) Petitions could be delivered as early as Monday as a push to legalize marijuana grows in Ohio. (FOX19 NOW file)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

The group that's working to legalize marijuana in Ohio may not have enough valid signatures to get the issue on November's ballot.

The group called Responsible Ohio is proposing a constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana in Ohio this year, but in order to do that they have to collect more than 300-thousand signatures, which have to be validated. 

The group’s executive director, Ian James, said that's where the process gets a little tricky.

“We filed about 700-thousand signatures. The boards of election are reviewing those signatures right now and we'll know in the next few days what that validity looks like," said James. 

Those signatures have to match the names of registered voters in order to be considered valid. “As we watch the signatures come in, the validation process coming in through the counties we have a question about those that are being invalidated those voters so we're cross checking those against the voter file that they've got versus what we've got from them earlier," explained James.

If the group hasn't collected enough valid signatures, Responsible Ohio claims it has a back-up plan. “If those signatures aren't necessarily there on validity we have ten day cure period to go out and get the signatures that we need. We'll do that. We've got about 200 people who are in the field right now,” said a representative. 

If collecting sufficient signatures weren't enough, Responsible Ohio is also facing opposition from the state’s largest farmers group. Joe Cornely with the Ohio Farm Bureau said his group is opposed to legalization plan for three reasons.

“First of all it creates a monopoly business that very few investors will benefit from. Second it uses the Ohio constitution to do that and then third it places Ohio in direct conflict with federal law. So you take those three factors and the farm bureau believes this is not a very good idea,” claimed Cornely.

Responsible Ohio's plan would create an oligopoly which is being opposed by the state legislature. 

Lawmakers have already placed a measure on the November 3rd ballot which would prohibit a monopoly, oligopoly or cartel in the state of Ohio.  

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