Ohio Advocates Sue GOP Leaders for Attempting to Delay Adult-Use Vote Until 2023

The advocacy group Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is suing GOP leadership in Ohio over attempts to delay the state’s adult-use cannabis legalization vote until 2023.

Full story after the jump.

Ohio’s Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) has filed a lawsuit claiming state GOP leaders House Speaker Bob Cupp and Senate President Matt Huffman are attempting to delay a vote on the state’s adult-use cannabis initiative until 2023, the Cleveland Dispatch reports.

In Ohio, initiatives go first to the state legislature for consideration after they receive enough valid signatures. If the legislature fails to pass a bill encompassing the initiative’s scope, the measure can then be approved for November ballots.

On January 3, the legalization group submitted the first round of signatures to Secretary of State Frank LaRose. However, his office determined the petition fell short of the 132,887 valid signatures needed to advance the measure. The coalition returned in the following days with enough valid signatures, prompting the secretary of state’s office to send the measure to the Legislature for consideration on January 28.

However, with Republican Gov. Mike DeWine in opposition as well as other Republican leaders, lawmakers have so far failed to take action on the issue. In Friday’s testimony, lawyers for the Republican leaders took issue with the timeline the ballot language came to the legislature. The attorneys argue the adult-use measure had to be approved, not just submitted, prior to the legislative session. Emails disclosed during a hearing last week revealed that lawyers with Attorney General Dave Yost’s office agree with the Republicans’ counsel that the question should be put off until 2023.

The advocates’ lawsuit claims the January 28 submission date was met on time and asks a judge to allow the process to move forward. If the ruling lands in their favor, advocates will have until July to collect more signatures to put the question on state ballots later this year.

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