Updated Update:At least one effort to legalize medical pot in Ohio is moving forward. On Friday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine approved ballot language and validated 1,000 initial signatures for the "Alternative Treatment Amendment." If the group finds enough money to canvass the state for an additional 380,000 or so signatures, the measure will be on the November, 2012 ballot.
This was the second try for the Alternative Treatment Amendment. Back in August, the attorney general rejected the proposal for lack of proper signatures.
Last month DeWine rejected ballot language for the competing Ohio Medical Cannabis Act amendment which would have allowed patients to have twice the pot and twice the plants. The attorney general said supporters failed to adequately explain everything in the amendment summary that voters would read.
It appears likely that the group behind the Ohio Medical Cannabis Act will drop their effort. Supporters have reported no efforts to refile petitions and group spokeswoman Theresa Daniello told Scene they "have no comment at this time."
Update: The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine last week confirmed that there were at least the needed 1,000 valid signatures in petitions supplied by the Ohio Medical Cannabis Act group pushing for medical marijuana to make the Ohio ballot, but that they failed in some front on the ballot language itself.
However, DeWine cited a litany of problems, including numerous provisions that were left out of the proposed ballot summary, one section that was misstated, and one item that was included that is not part of the full amendment. That is a $2 million loan for the proposed Division of Medical Cannabis Control to hire personnel, lease office space and purchase equipment.
The group cannot move on to the next step of collecting over 350,000 signatures statewide until the ballot language is approved. We're sure they'll get right on it, just as soon as this Chappelle Show marathon on Comedy Central is done. — Grzegorek
It’s time once again to play “Pass That Pot Law,” Ohio’s hot new game where multiple groups vie to get medical marijuana reform on the ballot without ever talking to each other!
This week, Attorney General Mike DeWine expects to field a new stack of petitions that could set the stage for an all-out campaign to amend the Ohio constitution in favor of medical reefer. If successful, the issue would go before voters in November 2012.
The latest signatures were ponied up by backers of the Ohio Medical Cannabis Act, which would allow patients with a doctor’s prescription to possess up to seven ounces of weed and grow up to 24 pot plants.
“We are very, very confident in our signatures, and we’ve validated them to make sure they are successful,” says group spokeswoman Theresa Daniello. Only 1,000 signatures are required, but they submitted more than 2,300.
In August, another group backing a different proposal (half the pot, half the plants, twice the confusion) submitted more than 2,100 signatures — but was thwarted when DeWine deemed only 534 of them valid. That group, which supports an “Alternative Treatment Amendment,” visited an AFL-CIO picnic last week and plans to file a new petition soon.
“It was interesting, because our petitions were more popular than their own petitions,” says spokesman Rob Ryan.
Once either group slips 1,000 valid signatures past DeWine, the real chase begins: 381,000 more are needed for inclusion on the ballot.
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