Ohio Cannabis Rights amendment clears hurdle

If approved, ballot issue would legalize marijuana in Ohio.
TNS Regional News
May 24, 2013


The Ohio Ballot Board, chaired by Secretary of State Jon Husted, on Thursday determined that a proposed constitutional amendment regarding cannabis consists of one issue.

Petitioners will now need to collect 385,253 signatures, which is equal to 10 percent of the total vote cast for governor in 2010, to place the measure on the ballot. As part of the total number of signatures needed, petitioners must also collect signatures from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and within each of those counties, collect enough signatures equal to five percent of the total vote cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, 2010.

Last Friday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine certified the petition for the proposed constitutional amendment submitted by the Ohio Rights Group dealing with the legalization of therapeutic marijuana in the state.

On May 7, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received a written petition to amend the Ohio Constitution by adding the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment. The submission was certified Friday as containing both the necessary 1,000 signatures from registered Ohio voters and a “fair and truthful” summary.

“Without passing upon the advisability of the approval or rejection of the measure to be referred, I hereby certify that the summary is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed constitutional amendment,” DeWine stated in a letter to the Ohio Ballot Board.

According to the Ohio Rights Group, a regulatory model for therapeutic cannabis was designed, proposed and advanced in the first Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment, which was rejected by the Ohio Attorney General due to its length. The group says it would have established an application and permitting system for Agricultural Cooperatives, Scientific Research Laboratories (testing for purity and content), Safety Compliance and Educational Facilities (like Oaksterdam University), Infused Product Manufacturers and Medical Cannabis Retail Establishments.How soon would the regulations be established?

In information provided by the Ohio Rights Group, constitutional amendments in Ohio are required to appear on a fall ballot and go into effect 30 days after passage.

Usage is restricted to “eligible residents.” A person qualifies as an “eligible resident” by being the age of majority (at least 18 years old in Ohio), an Ohio resident and “diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition,” as defined under Section 2 (E). More conditions can be added by either the Commission or the General Assembly.

As poll numbers show Ohioans are growing increasingly comfortable with the idea of marijuana use, a Youngstown Democrat wants to give people the chance to make the drug fully legal in Ohio.

Rep. Robert F. Hagan has made a few attempts over the years to persuade his colleagues to allow for the use of medical marijuana in Ohio, and each effort has died a quiet death.

A spokesman for Speaker William G. Batchelder, R-Medina, declined to comment on the pair of proposals Hagan introduced yesterday.

One is a bill that would allow patients with certain chronic conditions such as cancer or sickle-cell anemia to use marijuana for treatment. Eighteen other states have approved similar measures.

“In addition to the studies that show marijuana to be a valuable treatment option for chronic pain, nausea and seizure disorders, I have heard countless stories of how cannabis has made a difference in the lives of people who are sick or dying,” Hagan said.

His other proposal, modeled after an amendment recently passed in Colorado, would ask voters to approve allowing people 21 or older to purchase and use marijuana. The drug could be sold only by state-licensed establishments and would be subject to a 15 percent excise tax.

“With billions upon billions spent on the war on drugs with little progress to show for it, it is time for more-sensible drug policy in this country,” Hagan said, arguing that the revenue could help restore cuts to education and local governments.

It takes a three-fifths vote for the legislature to put an issue on the ballot.

A recent Saperstein Associates poll of more than 1,000 Ohioans for The Dispatch found that legalizing medical marijuana was overwhelmingly favored, 63 percent to 37 percent, but making pot completely legal was opposed by a 21-point margin.

Martin D. Saperstein, head of the Columbus polling firm, noted that surveys in other states are finding growing acceptance of legalizing marijuana, especially if it would be regulated and taxed.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Norwalk Reflector staff and Jim Siegel of the Columbus Dispatch (MCT) contributed to this article.


By Frank Lewis - The Portsmouth Daily Times, Ohio (MCT)

©2013 The Portsmouth Daily Times (Portsmouth, Ohio)

Visit The Portsmouth Daily Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) at www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services



If it becomes legal in Ohio, where is it grown?

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

Spread the word, weed is not the enemy.


Make it legal.

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

Its time to welcome home maryjane. Oh let sweet freedom ring.

tell it how it is

I'm so back and forth on this. I'm against it, for my own and my family use. But honestly, the only harm it does is legal problems for people.


You and me both. I,as well as many others petitioned the state of Ca. for years before they finally passed the prop. But, if you see what's happened out there, it's a joke! It's unregulated and you can pretty much get a "Dr." to give you a script for any medical reason, as long as you have $80. Now, the situation in Colo. seems to be more of what we originally had in mind in Ca.Although, I smoked for years and years, I still believe it is a gateway drug and it can do harm more to your liver than alcohol. But, it is still a personal choice and I believe if it works for you, then you should be allowed to use it.

Señor Clown

I'm sure you've considered that the 'gateway' effect is not caused by the drug itself, but by it's legal status, the social stigma surrounding it, the need to sneak around engaging in criminal activity to enjoy the drug, and the need to associate with criminals to acquire the drug. Without those factors, would the gateway still be open?


The gateway effect is caused by the drug itself.When you smoke and get high, then you've expanded your mind and find out getting high isn't as bad as people initially thought. So, in turn you ask yourself if smoking weed isn't so bad then maybe getting high with other drugs won't be as bad as what you've been told. Statistically speaking, the majority of people who have used other drugs(acid,coke etc.) started out with weed. Very few stay with weed and don't end up doing other types of drugs. But again personal choice. I would still be toking if it wasn't for the fact I have a effed up liver from contracting Hep C years ago. ANY drug that is fat soluble or is metabolized through your liver is toxic for me. My primary concern isn't so much adults having access but kids having easier access to it than they do now.


I don't believe this at all. It is a gateway drug because you have to buy from the "black market". The market has the other drugs setting there for you to think about and take up to use. If you sell at Walmart next to the cookies, then you will buy the cookies and there will be no coke, acid, hash section to look at. Obviously it sounds like you haven't expanded your mind as much as you think. And if you think kids don't have easy access to it then you are sorely mistaken. Ask any kid, they can get it delivered to them as fast as if they walked to the store and bought it off the shelf. People don't stay with weed because they are around people that deal with other black market drugs. People need to stop thinking that weed is a gateway drug. Things are choices. You choose to smoke and be around it. Go to the bar and have a few beers. Bet you can find anything you want there. So is the bar or the beer a gateway? This is just ignorant thinking. Do I think it should be legal? Not sure. I think it would help the economy, etc., but not real sure how to regulate it so people wouldn't be stoned at work and nothing gets done! The people who get high or used to get high are the ones that actually know how things work in this situation. The ones that have smoked less than 50 times really don't have a clue. My opinion.


FYI: The worldwide "black market" is called "System D."

According to Freakonomics, if it were an economy, it would be the second largest in the world after the U.S.


Why? Because citizens increasingly no longer trust the dictatorial central planners who seemingly profit and live large at the expense of the common people.

Who watches the watchers?


Marijuana does not affect your liver. If anything it will help it because it is an anti-inflammatory. Hep C is inflammation of the liver so that would help you.


I'm all for legalizing marijuana. I do not smoke it but I did when I was young, some 40 years ago. 1 season of growth of one acre of marijuana would spare, I believe, 5 acres of trees that took years and years to grow. When you actually do research and see what the hemp plant was used for then you would also agree that it only makes sense to legalize it. I have no interest in smoking it but environmentally it would be a wise decision. There are so many uses for it other than smoking.

Brock Lee



Will that open up a whole new set of smoking laws?I don't want everyone on the road filled with second hand smoke.Can we have a garden ?I was taking a guy to see his parole office on a weed charge and I told him I wouldn't know where to buy it if I wanted it.He said"Call me. "

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

Nothing wrong with second hand maryjane smoke.


hey sweet story JACKEL


When I was in the service we would take cigs and soak them in cream demint and dry them in the sun.We actually made the first menthol cigs.HAH!


With restrictions, Canada allows for the growing of hemp and OH should too. It has the potential as a great cash crop.

Federal and international laws against the recreational use of marijuana are still in force.

It remains to be seen how the recent legalization legislation by CO and WA will ultimately be handled by opponents and DC.

I support decriminalization - keep the bureaucrats out of one's personal business!


Legalize it and tax it, this could help balance country and city budgets as well as state budgets. Tax it's use proportional to that of cigarettes.


Can we put a large sin tax on it and run the school system? Let's legalize prostitution also and that should pick up shortage.

unemployment co...

As part of the total number of signatures needed, petitioners must also collect signatures from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and within each of those counties, collect enough signatures equal to five percent of the total vote cast for governor in the most recent gubernatorial election, 2010 /////// Where do we sign?


The term "gateway drug" associated with marijuana is a ridiculous pejorative used by opponents.

Better correlations to use of harder narcotics would be tobacco, alcohol or even tomatoes.



If they are a gateway drug, then I am in serious trouble!


It IS after all a "fruit" which is a member of the Nightshade family. :)

They were once thought to be poisonous.

Got it from an OLD opinion piece in which the author stated that almost everyone who's ever used hard drugs once ate tomatoes.

IOW: One can point to NUMEROUS substances other than marijuana as a "gateway drug."

BTW: Portugal decriminalized drugs and intial reports showed that usage went DOWN.



"The Marijuana Conspiracy - The Real Reason Hemp is Illegal"

Rural Monroeville

Don't smoke - never have, never will. My kids are not old enough to worry about YET. BUT--time to regulate this stuff. Not going away. Has been around as long as I have. I think it is probably less offensive than booze. People don't get mean and aggressive unless they mix it with alcohol. Alcohol KILLS. Alcohol makes people stupid. Alcohol is legal.
Legalize it and tax it. Put it on ballot.