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Ohio gives green light for marijuana legalization petitioners to start gathering signatures

Backers of a new effort to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio now gather signatures needed to send the issue to the legislature — and maybe to voters — after getting state approval last week for their petition language.

The Ohio Ballot Board last week led by Secretary of State Frank LaRose voted unanimously that the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol’s proposed law change passed a legal threshold to qualify as a single issue. The board could have split the proposal into multiple issues which would have complicated signature gathering efforts.

Tom Haren, a spokesman for the coalition, said with the vote, his group now plans to immediately start collecting the 132,887 signatures from registered voters needed to force the legislature to take up the issue. The group’s goal is to be done gathering signatures by the end of this year, or in early 2022, he said. The signatures must come from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties.

If the legislature doesn’t pass the law, or passes something different, the coalition then could begin collecting another 132,887 valid signatures to send it to the ballot for a statewide vote. The group is targeting the November 2022 election, although Haren said it would be just as happy if the legislature acted on its own. [Read more at Cleveland.com]

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