ResponsibleOhio has cleared a major hurdle in its effort to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio. The Ohio Ballot Board has approved the most current version of the initiative, which clears the way for the group to start gathering signatures. The group's previous version of the initiative was rejected by Ohio's Attorney General. Per The Chronicle Telegram:
The Ohio Ballot Board, chaired by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, approved the measure as one issue during a meeting Friday. Had the board decided it was more than one issue, ResponsibleOhio would have had to refine its language and resubmit it to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office for approval.
ResponsibleOhio must gather the signatures of at least 305,591 registered voters in order for the legalization effort to be put in front of voters, something the investor-backed group hopes to do by the July deadline in order to make the November ballot.
"We have the procedural stuff in place to begin our signature effort, which is exciting," ResponsibleOhio spokeswoman Lydia Bolander said.
She said the group will use a mix of paid and volunteer workers to gather the necessary signatures and they intend to collect as many as 500,000 signatures to ensure enough of them are valid.
ResponsibleOhio has received a lot of criticism from veteran activists and reform organization leaders for the monopoly-ish model the initiative creates. The original initiative language gave the sole right to grow marijuana to just ten entities. The newer version of the initiative allows for home cultivation of up to four plants, as long as the grower has a license. How hard a license will be to get is unclear at this time.