Ohio’s second proposed medical marijuana ballot issue took a step forward Friday when it was certified by Attorney General Mike DeWine.
The Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment to the Ohio Constitution contains a “fair and truthful” summary and has the necessary 1,000 signatures of Ohio registered voters, DeWine decided, reports alan Johnson of The Columbus Dispatch.
Next up for the ballot issue is the Ohio Ballot Board, which will determine whether it should appear on the November 6 general election ballot as a single issue or as multiple issues. Secretary of State Jan Husted set a board meeting for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 25.
If the board approves, advocates can begin collecting the 385,245 signatures of registered voters needed to qualify for the ballot.
Last October, the Ballot Board approved another medical marijuana ballot issue, the Ohio Alternative Treatment Amendment, after first rejecting it for not having the required initial 1,000 signatures. Supporters are already gathering signatures to qualify that one for the ballot.
Either issue, if passed, would allow Ohioans with qualifying medical conditions to buy, have and grow marijuana for medicinal purposes.
The Medical Cannabis Amendment, certified Friday, has as its primary backers a group of patients seeking pain relief.
According to the proposed language of the ballot issue, Ohio residents have “inalienable rights” under the Ohio Constitution, including the right to “be eligible to use cannabis as medicine as a result of a diagnosed debilitating medical condition.”
The issue would establish an Ohio Commission of Cannabis Control to regulate medical marijuana in the state.
The group’s initial proposal was rejected by Attorney General DeWine last September because he said it did not fairly summarize the proposal.
The other active ballot issue concerning medical marijuana, the Alternative Treatment Amendment, would allow qualified medical professionals to recommend marijuana for patients at least 18 years old with a qualifying medical condition. Patients could get up to 3.5 ounces of marijuana at a time, and could cultivate up to 12 cannabis plants.
Both proposals are aimed at patients with specified serious medical conditions: cancer, Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle-cell anemia, glaucoma and others.
Backers of the two competing amendments have been unable to agree to work together and decided to move ahead independently. Which means it’s really gonna suck if, together, it turns out they would have had enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, but separately they both fail.