The Ohio Secretary of State’s Office has revealed that recreational cannabis advocates have only 10 days to put a legalization initiative on the state ballot. Reform activists behind an adult-use cannabis measure failed to meet Ohio’s threshold of verified signatures by 679 signatures and cannot get their measure on the ballot as is.
However, state law grants the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol another 10 days to collect the remaining signatures and qualify the recreational cannabis measure for the ballot. The measure seeks to legalize the purchase, sale, possession and consumption of recreational marijuana for Ohio adults 21 years of age and older.
A coalition spokesman said that campaign representatives collected 222,198 signatures and submitted those signatures to the secretary of state’s office. Under Ohio law, the campaign should have collected at least 124,046 signatures from at least 44 counties.
Once the campaign submitted the signatures, the secretary of state’s office sent each signature to the county of origin’s board of elections for verification. An analysis of the verified signatures found that the campaign needed an additional 679 signatures to qualify their recreational cannabis measure for the ballot.
If the campaign collects enough signatures during the 10 extra days it has been granted, the Ohio ballot board will convene to ratify the language in the recreational marijuana measure and start preparing for the November election.
The measure would allow eligible adults to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and up to 15 grams of concentrates. It would also allow private cultivation of up to 6 cannabis plants for personal use and a maximum of 12 plants per residence. Furthermore, the measure would levy a 10% tax on all recreational cannabis sales, raising around $400 million in tax revenue for the state. According to the bill, 36% of this revenue would be invested in job programs and social equity, another 36% would be directed to areas that legalize recreational cannabis retail, 25% to education and substance misuse programs, and 3% would be used to cover the administrative costs of regulating the recreational marijuana industry.
The adult-use measure would establish a state Department of Commerce with the authority to regulate, license and penalize recreational marijuana retailers, testing labs and any individual who needs a cannabis-related license. If it is successful, the legalization initiative would require that regulators issue qualified medical marijuana operators with retail adult-use license within nine months of being ratified.
The legalization of marijuana in Ohio would not only be beneficial to companies that directly deal in the substance, it would help ancillary actors such as to Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) because there would be an entire ecosystem created around the marijuana industry.
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