Ohio AG certifies recreational marijuana measure, probably won’t make 2018 ballot

A proposed constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio completed the first step Thursday in qualifying the measure for a statewide ballot.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine certified that the petition language for the “Marijuana Rights and Regulations” amendment was a “fair and truthful” summary of the proposed measure. The amendment would allow people age 21 and older to possess, produce, transport, use, sell and share cannabis.

It will now go to the Ohio Ballot Board, a bipartisan panel of lawmakers headed by Secretary of State Jon Husted, to determine whether the measure is one or multiple ballot issues. Once approved by the Ballot Board, supporters will need to collect at least 305,591 signatures of registered Ohio voters to put the issue on the ballot.

The measure is sponsored by a group called Ohio Families for Change. DeWine rejected the group’s initial proposal because the proposed petition summary did not match the amendment language.

The group had been shooting for the November ballot but likely won’t have enough time to collect the required signatures before the July 4 deadline for this year’s general election. Ohio Families for Change spokesman Jonathan Varner said the group is looking at filing signatures for the 2019 November election.

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