The Battle for Legalization in Ohio

Politics
The Battle for Legalization in Ohio

When you think of the state of Ohio, marijuana is not the first thing that springs to mind. Yet there is a battle shaping up in the Buckeye State that could dominate cannabis news for many months to come.

The undisputed leader in the race for the ballot is the group ResponsibleOhio. With a lot of money backing them from a series of investors who stand to benefit greatly if the measure passes, RO has the ability to hire professional signature gatherers and buy ads with local and statewide media, should the plan make the ballot. RO’s plan is also rather restrictive in the area of growing; the 10 investors will be the only ones allowed to grow cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, although RO did recently relent to pressure from the cannabis community and add a 4-plant home growing stipulation. The growing “cartel” — as some have called it — has brought a litany of attacks from those who support legalization but don’t feel growing should be concentrated in so few hands.

Another group that has been attempting to get medical marijuana on the ballot for a couple years is the Ohio Rights Group. So far they have fallen far short when it comes to fundraising and signatures, something they blame RO for, citing underhanded and unethical tactics.

Ohioans to End Prohibition is a group aiming for the 2016 ballot, whereas RO is gunning for the fall of this year. OTEP’s measure is much more comprehensive than that of RO, allowing more home growing, any adult to apply for growing permits, and greater amounts when it comes to possession, among other advantages. What OTEP lacks is the money backing RO.

A recent entry in the battle of Ohio weed is a group called Better for Ohio. Their plan, in a nutshell, is to mimic RO’s plan, improve upon it, and then hope those who support RO will switch to the Better for Ohio plan down the line. For their part, RO says that they are flattered by Better for Ohio’s imitation, but that they should just come over to the RO side instead wasting time with a separate, but similar plan.

Brace yourself, Ohio — the legalization measures are coming.