Ohio adult-use cannabis advocates have fallen short of the number of signatures required to force lawmakers to consider legalization legislation this session, the Associated Press reports. Ohio Attorney General Frank LaRose told the Coalition to Legalize Marijuana Like Alcohol that they were 13,062 valid signatures short of the 133,000-signature benchmark required to force lawmakers to act.
Despite the setback, group spokesperson Tom Haren said they will be able to collect the thousands of signatures needed before a January 14 hard deadline. If successful, the effort could still force lawmakers to take up adult-use legislation this session and if the legislature failed to pass a bill in four months, the group could collect an additional 133,000 signatures to put the issue to voters during the 2022 midterm election.
The petition seeks to legalize the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of flower and allow six plants per adult or 12 per household. Rep. Jamie Callender (R) introduced a bill last month to implement the reforms with a 10% cannabis tax. That rate is included in the group’s petition but Callender admitted his Republican colleagues do not support the bill, the report says.
While other Midwest states such as Michigan and Illinois have passed adult-use cannabis reforms, Ohio has struggled to legalize cannabis. Voters there rejected an initiative to legalize both medical and adult-use cannabis in 2015 due to concerns about an industry monopoly.
Medical cannabis did eventually become legal in Ohio; however, the rollout has been slow and patients have long complained of high prices and lack of product. Only recently have Ohio regulators started seriously addressing things like expanding patient daily allowances and product supply.
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