The group seeking to get marijuana legalization on the ballot in Ohio later this year has turned in another 95,000+ signatures to the Secretary of State in an attempt to make that happen.
ResponsibleOhio failed to get the required number of signatures needed to qualify for the ballot by the initial deadline; they had 10 days after that to get another 30,000 signatures. Reports indicate that RO has spent more than $2 million during the signature gathering process alone.
While all this is playing out, RO is also being investigated by the state of Ohio for fraud in gathering signatures. The state says there are discrepancies when it comes to the signatures; for their part, RO says they are the ones who pointed out the discrepancies in the first place.
Cannabis legalization has a short history, but Ohio in 2015 has to rank right up there with legalization attempts in California in 2010 and Washington in 2014 in terms of the drama surrounding it. Some activists in the state outright hate the measure and actively campaign against it. Other campaigns and the state have accused RO of fraud and other shenanigans. The Ohio legislature passed a measure that would nullify RO’s plan even if it makes the ballot and wins; that measure will be on the ballot this November.
Despite it all, RO has a lot of money, and that is why RO still has a chance of seeing the ballot this year. They have the money for ads and they have a very limited plan that plays well to the rural areas of the state and to the soccer moms. Commercial growing would be tightly controlled in the hands of the 10 investor groups and home growing would be limited to four plants.
The battle in Ohio is likely to get even more heated in the coming months.