The very name “ResponsibleOhio” conjures up many images in the minds of cannabis users and activists, but none of them are good. May of its detractors called it a monopoly — even though the 10 investor groups would have owned the 10 farms and those 10 farms would have been competing with each other, some people just aren’t good with words and definitions and such. Regardless, to many it is a symbol of the evil, greedy businesspeople who tried to hijack the marijuana legalization movement. To its supporters (of which I was one), it is a symbol of abject failure and missed opportunity.
The “missed opportunity” part was really driven home last week as some of the founders of RO announced that it was dead and that they are joining a task force that will look into the issue of medical marijuana in Ohio.
So what does this mean for cannabis users in Ohio? First, it means medical marijuana legalization may be at the end of a long road of task force meetings, studies and more meetings. That legalization could be robust and cover many ailments, or it could be restrictive and allow the politicians in the legislature to pretend they did some worthwhile. Or medical marijuana legalization may not happen through the Ohio legislature at all.
On the recreational side, the only group left is Legalize Ohio 2016. They have a much better plan than RO did, and they say they have collected about 80,000 of the 305,000+ signatures needed by July 6, 2016, to get the measure on the ballot. Most importantly, they say they will have the money needed to use professional signature gatherers, but that remains to be seen. All signatures so far have been collected by volunteers.
So for now Ohio cannabis users have to wait for the various scenarios to begin to play themselves out. I have little hope for the route through the legislature as politicians consistently prove themselves to be a few steps behind the voters. That leaves the ballot box and Legalize Ohio 2016 as the only real hope for legalization in Ohio in 2016.
The path is clear, all they need now is the money.