New Effort Begun to Legalize Recreational Marijuana in Ohio

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A new effort to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio is underway.

The proposal is called the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Amendment. Backers of the measure submitted the initial petition and 1,000 signatures to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office on Monday for review.

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

“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 asks.

The constitutional amendment would allow adults over the age of 21 to buy, possess, consume and grow limited amounts of 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 says.

Haren says this proposed amendment would still allow the state to regulate the product.

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.

The state’s current medical marijuana program would remain in place if the legalization effort passed.

Voters in 2015 handily defeated a ballot issue to legalize marijuana in the state.