Legal marijuana on hold after fundraising problems

Marijuana plant. (Photo/NBC News)
Marijuana plant. (Photo/NBC News)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A group that had gathered signatures to put a marijuana legalization proposal before Ohio voters this year said that effort is on hold after it had trouble fundraising for the campaign.

The Legalize Ohio 2016 campaign instead plans to partner with other advocates on efforts to legalize medical marijuana and to reduce criminal penalties for having marijuana, Cleveland.com reported.

Its political action committee, Ohioans to End Prohibition, reported having only $268 at the end of last month. The roughly 80,000 signatures it had collected don’t expire and could be used to qualify for a future ballot.

Voters rejected a ballot measure in November that would have legalized recreational and medical marijuana, known as Issue 3.

Meanwhile, the group plans to collect signatures for the forthcoming medical marijuana proposal from the Marijuana Policy Project. Legalize Ohio 2016 also plans to support local decriminalization efforts.

“Nobody anticipated MPP coming to the state and we’re hoping this is going to be the better policy,”

“Nobody anticipated MPP coming to the state and we’re hoping this is going to be the better policy,” spokesman Michael Hiles said. “Let’s do this the right way and work with the coalition across the state. If people don’t like that and don’t want to vote for it, they don’t have to. We can’t sit here and keep it criminalized with no policy at all instead of supporting incremental change.”

Hiles said he believes Ohio isn’t ready to include a ballot measure on recreational marijuana. The four states that have legalized recreational usage of the drug first had a medical marijuana system already in place.

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