The controversial marijuana legalization proposal from the group ResponsibleOhio may be headed toward a roadblock on its journey to the Ohio ballot this fall.
RO recently turned in 695,273 signatures to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office; 305,591 of those signatures need to be deemed valid for the measure to make this year’s ballot. But reports from some counties in Ohio are showing a low validity rate for signatures, especially in the southwest part of the state. For example Hamilton County — which contains the city of Cincinnati — is showing a rate of less than 34% valid signatures among those turned it. Other counties are showing rates around 41%.
If RO falls short of the valid signature mark, initially they will have 10 days to make up the missing signatures, something that is quite possible considering the mountain of money RO has backing it. If the plan does qualify for the ballot, the measure will then face opposition from many legalization advocates who hate its commercial growing restrictions and a competing ballot measure that could nullify it even if it wins. And of course the usual opposition from those who don’t favor legalization in any case.
What RO does have is money and a limited plan that could appeal to soccer moms and those who worry about unrestricted cannabis growing. If they can’t get the signatures however, legalization will be a moot point in 2015, and maybe for several years to come unless another group can raise millions of dollars for the 2016 ballot. So far RO is the only group that has shown it can generate the funds needed for victory.
Under the RO plan no one would be allowed to grow cannabis for commercial sale – except the 10 investors – but a $50 a year license would be available for adults who want to grow up to 4 plants at home.
"Update: ResponsibleOhio did indeed fall short of the valid signature mark by about 29,000 signatures, they are now in their 10-day window to make up the required signatures to make the ballot."