Local Attorney Celebrates Approval of Pot Ballot Issue

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ATHENS, Ohio – Attorney and marijuana activist Don Wirtshafter said he is relieved after Attorney General Mike DeWine approved the second marijuana ballot issue for Ohio on Thursday.

Wirtshafter and a citizen’s group wrote and submitted the Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Amendment that Dewine certified.

“It was a lot of relief yesterday that we (got) through this important step of the process,” Wirtshafter said. “We’ll be past the ballot board within a week and we’ll be circulating this petition for the next three months.”

DeWine said in a press release that the petition contained the necessary 1,000 valid signatures from Ohio voters and a “fair and truthful” summary of the proposed amendment. He chose not to comment on the “advisability of the approval or rejection of the measure.”

Wirtshafter said he decided to write the amendment because a lot of people were discouraged with the first marijuana policy project that tried to legalize marijuana in Ohio.

“In frustration with that direction, many of us decided we needed to write our own initiative,” Wirtshafter said. “We got together on a Google doc and almost 100 of us put in input in what needed to be in the initiative.”

Wirtshafter and his group are putting the responsibility on the legislature in an initiated statute. They are also pursuing it as a constitutional amendment.

“I’m counting on all my friends and all the people that support this issue to come out of the woodwork and help us get the 300,005 valid signatures that we need to get this before the Ohio voters in November,” Wirtshafter said.

The Ohio Ballot Board will decide whether the amendment contains a single issue or multiple issues on which to vote. After the board has decided, the petitioners have to collect signatures from registered voters in 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties.