In the light of recent pot legalization news: the next six days will be crucial for the ResponsibleOhio’s “Marijuana Legalization Amendment” to become real and make Ohio on of the states legalizing marijuana. As it was announced on Monday by Ohio’s Secretary of State Jon Husted, ResponsibleOhio couldn’t provide required valid 305,591signatures to get this amendment included into the November 2015 ballot. In the end of June, the group submitted 695,273 signatures to guarantee the success, but only 276,082 proved valid. If passed, this amendment would alter the Ohio Constitution to a state, that would allow personal use of one ounce of weed by individuals 21 of age and medical use for patients with eligible diseases. The regulations would allow to acquire, grow, cultivate, extract, product, process, test and sell medical cannabis with a license. Home growers should be allowed to have maximum four cannabis plants and eight ounces at the same time. The plan also indicates how to enrich Ohio’s budget. It will cost to acquire a license: $50,000 for facilities to grow, cultivate marijuana and make extractions from it, $25,000 to make marijuana products, $10,000 for retail stores and $50 to grow it at home, not including taxes.
Regardless the lack of signatures and time, ResponsibleOhio’s Executive Director Ian James highlighted that 200 staffers should collect additional 29,509 signatures in time.
The activists also hope that 40,000 signatures that are left out would be reconsidered. ResponsibleOhio will go to the Ohio Supreme Court challenge the shortfalls.
No wonder it is so hard to implement changes in the state where marijuana is illegal. The initiative has its opponents in the state. The Ohio Green Party recently officially claimed that the document only changes the color of the black market to “white”. But The Greens support another plan for cannabis legalization from the Ohio Rights Group, which actually proposes non-psychoactive cannabis, namely – hemp, instead of marijuana.
Another opponent of the pot legalization plan from ResponsibleOhio is the Ohio Libertarian Party, naming this plan a monopoly and no more than that. Though no changes to the amendment aren’t proposed by either of the parties.
At first glance differences between two plans lay in the essence of the legalized substance and the way of handling it: marijuana grown, processed only by ten sites, produced only by licensed facilities and sold by legal stores from ResponsibleOhio; and non-psychoactive cannabis (hemp) grown and sold by individuals or organizations from The Ohio Rights.
We just need to wait and see who wins to make Ohio a state where marijuana is legal.