Ohio Medical Marijuana Initiative (2013)
The measure would legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes in the state. It will be introduced by Peter Lewis, chairman of Progressive Insurance. The measure has not been filed yet with the Ohio Attorney General's office as of mid-May, as Lewis is seeking potential proposals, and will run the campaign for the selected proposal.
According to an e-mail from Lewis's attorney, proposals that he is looking for would “describe a clear plan to meet two goals: pass a voter initiative to legalize medical marijuana in Ohio and design, execute and document the campaign in order to create a model for future campaigns in other states.”
A separate ballot initiative is underway in the state, backed by what organizers say is a "core group of patients" advocating for the use of medical marijuana. The proposal is known as The Ohio Medical Cannabis Act of 2012.
Under the act, if approved, a regulatory system modeled after the Ohio State Liquor Control system would be established. An Ohio Commission of Cannabis Control would also be implemented. Doctor's prescription would be needed to buy the drug, and it would be taxed.
- Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer claimed that the measure "would make too much marijuana available to kids in the community." He also stated a concern with driving under the influence of the drug.
Path to the ballot
- See also: Ohio signature requirements
Since the measure was filed as an initiated constitutional amendment, the petition drive effort will need to collect 385,247 signatures in order to place the referendum on the ballot. An initial 1,000 signatures and approval by the Ohio Attorney General are required prior to initiating petition circulation efforts.
The measure was rejected by the Ohio Attorney General, as Mike DeWine stated that the measure's supporters did not collect the required amount of initial signatures to be approved for circulation. 1,000 signatures are needed for that approval, however only 534 signatures were valid.
Another attempt at the 1,000 initial signature requirement was submitted in mid-September 2011 by supporters of the Ohio Medical Cannabis Act, the second medical marijuana initiative, with more than 2,300 signatures. According to spokeswoman for the group Theresa Daniello: “We are very, very confident in our signatures, and we’ve validated them to make sure they are successful."
Less than a month after a second attempt was initiated to circulate initiative petitions for the Ohio 2012 ballot, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that the attempt failed. Despite collecting sufficient signatures (at least 1,000) to initiate the circulation effort, DeWine explained that supporters failed to properly summarize the ballot language.
- A total of 2,365 signatures were submitted on September 7, 2011, 1,344 signatures were valid
- Ballot summary errors included: provisions left out of the summary, a misstated section, an included item not stated in the full amendment
Approval of second initiative
On January 25, 2012, the Ohio Ballot Board approved the second amendment, which is the "Ohio Cannibis Act of 2012". According to the board, the amendment consisted of one issue, thus allowing it to move forward with signature collection for ballot access.
- 2012 ballot measures
- Ohio 2012 ballot measures
- List of Ohio ballot measures
- Laws governing the initiative process in Ohio
- Cleveland Plain-Dealer, "Progressive Chairman Peter B. Lewis aims to put medical marijuana issue on 2012 ballot", May 2, 2011
- Property Casualty, "Progressive Chairman Looks To Legalize Medical Marijuana In Ohio", May 4, 2011
- Columbus Dispatch, "Second group seeks a vote on medical marijuana", July 14, 2011
- NECN.com, "Ohio medical marijuana ballot issue takes 1st step", July 31, 2011
- The Republic, "Initial Ohio medical marijuana petitions rejected, official says not enough valid signatures", August 3, 2011
- 'Clevescene.com, "Pot Group Files Signatures for Second Time in Push for Medical Marijuana Ballot Issue", September 14, 2011
- Associated Press,"Ohio medical marijuana ballot language rejected," September 21, 2011
- The Columbus Dispatch,"Proposed medical marijuana ballot issue rejected for content flaws," September 20, 2011
- Fox 8, "Medical Marijuana Supporters Closer to Ballot Spot", October 25, 2011
- Times Journal, "Ballot Board decides medical marijuana amendment is single issue", January 25, 2012