Pot petitions arrive at Ohio Statehouse

ResponsibleOhio delivers marijuana legalization petitions to Ohio Statehouse. (WDTN Photo/Beairshelle' Edme)
ResponsibleOhio delivers marijuana legalization petitions to Ohio Statehouse. (WDTN Photo/Beairshelle' Edme)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio is one step closer to deciding whether to legalize marijuana.

2 NEWS was in Columbus Tuesday as nearly 700,000 signatures supporting a marijuana amendment reached the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office.

Responsible Ohio took the next step in its push to get an amendment on the November ballot.

The fight to legalize marijuana for Ian James is personal.  His mother-in-law fought cancer.  Painkillers were suppose to help, but didn’t.

“We said, you know, why didn’t you try medical marijuana. She said you know what, because it was illegal. so the pills were legal. The addiction was legal, but medical marijuana wasn’t legal,” said Ian James, executive director, Responsible Ohio.

Years later, James has raised nearly $40-million to legalize the drug.   Boxes of petitions were piled high in Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office.  Inside were the signatures of nearly 700,000 Ohioans supporting legalization, some 25,000 of those signatures from Montgomery County residents.

“I can get marijuana delivered to the statehouse in 15 minutes. It’s available. It’s accessible. The problem is, it’s so readily available, that drug dealers who sell right now, they don’t care to know if your kids are over 21.  What they’re selling is not regulated. What they’re selling is not tested.”

Under the amendment, only 10 growth sites will be built and only 8 ounces can be grown for personal use.

Secretary of State Husted is taking over the next step in the process.

“We receive people’s petitions. We receive their request. We convene the ballot board. The board of elections do their work and we’re just here to make sure it’s fair. And that everyone’s vote counts,” said Joshua Eck, Ohio Secretary of State’s Office.

James says he is confident Ohio’s voice will be heard.

“60 percent of Ohio voters want the personal use of marijuana to be legalized, 87 percent want medicinal use of marijuana to be legalized. The voters overwhelmingly support legalization. It’s unfortunate that it’s really just here in the statehouse that there seems to be this push back on and kind of a disconnection from reality about legalization.”

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