COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Those who want to place recreational marijuana on the Ohio ballot have been given more time to collect signatures.
The Ohio Secretary of State’s Office said Tuesday that the initiative to get the issue on November’s ballots initiative did not meet the state’s verified signature benchmark, falling short 679 signatures. Under Ohio law, the petitioners have 10 days to submit the additional signatures.
The initiative, submitted by Coalition to Regulation Marijuana Like Alcohol, seeks to legalize the possession, purchase, and sale of marijuana for residents 21 years old and older.
According to a coalition spokesperson, the organization submitted 222,198 signatures to the secretary of state’s office to get the issue on the November ballot; it needed at least 124,046 signatures from 44 of the state’s 88 counties.
Those signatures were separated by county by the secretary of state’s office and then delivered to their respective county’s board of elections, which then verified each signature. Once verified, those signatures were returned to the secretary of state’s office to be counted.
Now that the petition has fallen short of the required verified signatures, there is a 10-day “cure” period where the coalition can make up that shortfall. If the signature benchmark is met, the state’s ballot board will meet to certify the language used on the ballot and start preparing for the November election.
If approved in November, a 10% tax would be levied on all cannabis sales, generating an estimated $400 million in revenue for Ohio. According to the coalition, more than 25% of that will be allocated to social equity and jobs programs.
The recreational marijuana proposal, unlike the abortion rights amendment proposal, will not be subject to the outcome of the Aug. 8 special election. The marijuana proposal, unlike the abortion proposal, does not seek to amend the state’s constitution.
Twenty-three states and Washington D.C. allow the use of marijuana recreationally.
The last time marijuana legalization appeared on Ohio’s ballots was in 2015, where it was rejected by nearly 65% of voters.