Cannabis legalization advocates in Ohio have reached a settlement in their lawsuit against state lawmakers that will put an adult-use legalization question on November 2023 ballots if the Legislature doesn’t act on the measure by April 2023, Cleveland.com reports.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol had sued lawmakers claiming House Republicans had refused to take up the legalization as proposed under the state’s initiated statute mechanism and lawmakers contended that the group had submitted the signatures too late to be considered during this year’s session.
State officials claimed the group fell short by 13,062 signatures of the required 132,887 in its initial batch submitted in December after 87,000 signatures collected by the group were ruled invalid. The coalition gathered the additional signatures during a 10-day “cure” but had still missed the deadline.
Under the terms of the settlement, officials will accept the more than 140,000 signatures already collected instead of forcing them to start over, and lawmakers won’t have to consider the reforms until next year.
Tom Haren, a spokesman for the advocacy group, said the settlement “guarantees the validity of the signatures we’ve already gathered” and gives the group “a much clearer path” to 2023 ballots if lawmakers refuse to pass the proposal.
The settlement allows the group to resubmit its petitions on January 3, which should give them enough time to gather more signatures to put the issue before voters in November 2023.
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