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The Statehouse News Bureau provides educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations.

A Renewed Effort To Legalize Marijuana In Ohio

Inside a marijuana store in Denver, Colorado [Jo Ingles / Statehouse News Bureau]
Inside a marijuana store in Denver, Colorado

Ohio’s medical marijuana program has been fully operational for a year now, but participation in the program has lagged behind projections based on neighboring states.

Now there’s a move afoot to put an issue on the fall ballot that would legalize marijuana outright.

Cleveland attorney Tom Haren represents a group wanting to legalize marijuana and regulate it like alcohol. Ohio’s medical marijuana program isn’t working for many and needs reforms that are not likely to happen, he said.

“It doesn’t feel like there’s a willing partner in the state to make reforms. So what do you do? Do you continue to get reforms when you are not able to get anywhere and instead do you take the next step and do what 11 other states have done and implement an adult use program?" Haren said.

The state constitutional amendment Haren's group is backing would allow adults over 21 to buy, possess and use marijuana. 

“Full legalization in Ohio is a matter of when, not if, so we tried to put an amendment together that made sense in 2020," Haren said.

The proposed amendment would still allow the state to regulate pot and related products, he said.

The group has filed its paperwork for the  amendmentwith the attorney general’s office, the first step in the process. And if it is given the green light by the state to circulate petitions, supporters of the plan will need to collect 443,000 valid signatures by July 1st.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.