|Keith Bacongo-Flickr edited by Toke of the Town.|
Ohioans looking to legally use medical cannabis will have to wait at least another year (or move) as activists collecting signatures for the November ballot failed to reach their goal.
While Ohio Rights Group managed to collect around 100,000 signatures – a commendable figure – they failed to get the necessary 385,000 signatures.
The biggest obstacle: money. The reality of today’s political landscape is that you need paid signature gatherers or it is hard to get anything on the ballot today. John Pardee, ORG President said their campaign never had the funding to accomplish that.
“You need paid help for an effort like this and what’s disappointing is that we can’t convince enough donors to contribute to get the necessary resources to put us over the top,” Pardee told WBNS-10 in Columbus, Ohio.
Another reality, even today: people are wary of putting their name down on anything attached to anything having to do with marijuana – medical or otherwise. And, apparently in Ohio, the stigma is still stronger than the desire to help their neighbors access a safe, homegrown, therapeutic substance.
“We found there are a lot of people who would sign petitions but they fear losing their job,” Pardee said. “Doctors and lawyers and other professionals tell me the same thing. There is stigma attached to the issue. We do find the continuing education is helping but that takes time.”
Pardee says that his group will try again next year, and petitions can be carried over from election to election according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
And it will likely have to take that ballot initiative in 2015 to get the laws changed in Ohio, where politicians on both sides of the aisle have yet to warm to the idea of medical cannabis in any form despite 87 percent of voters.