Enrique Fernández

Ohio residents are one step closer to a comprehensive medical marijuana program in the state after the Ballot Board certified a new initiative, clearing the first hurdle for a statewide vote.

Supporters must now collect 305,591 valid voter signatures by July in order for the measure to appear on the November ballot. Last week, Ohioans for Medical Marijuana submitted 1,000 valid signatures and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said the initial summary “is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed law,” according to a report by TheWeedBlog.com.  

Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said that the group plans on enlisting the help of paid petitioners and mobilizing volunteers in their signature collection efforts.

“A lot of our volunteers are family members of patients or patients themselves, so they’re incredibly motivated,” he said. “The initiative process isn’t easy, but it pales in comparison to undergoing chemotherapy or witnessing your child have seizures on a daily basis.”

According to the initiative text, it would create a Medical Marijuana Control Division and Medical Marijuana Advisory Board. Those bodies would regulate cultivation centers and dispensaries, and oversee the program across the state.

The initiative would allow two different types of cultivation centers. Type 1 sites would be allowed to operate dispensaries, testing facilities and cultivation sites with up to 25,000-square-feet of flowering canopy. They would require an initial $500,000 fee and only fifteen such licenses would be issued. A type 2 site would be authorized to run a dispensary and a cultivation site with up to 5,000 square-feet of flowering canopy. The fee for a Type 2 site would be $5,000, with no cap on how many such licenses may be issued.

This initiative is a response to Issue 3, which was a medical/recreational legalization effort defeated last November amid monopoly concerns.  

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