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Ohio AG Rejects Marijuana Legalization Proposal

It’s back to the drawing board for Ohio’s Colaition To Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol after the AG’s rejection

The Columbus Dispatch

A marijuana legalization campaign in Ohio will have to collect a new batch of petition signatures after GOP Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost rejected the first batch the group submitted. Yost had issues with how the petition summarized the group’s proposed law change, reports Cleveland.com.

Yost on Thursday said the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol’s six pages of summary language failed to meet the legal threshold. The threshold requires it to be a “fair and truthful statement” of what the 45-page law change would do.

The AG had received summary language for “An Act to Control and Regulate Adult Use Cannabis” July 27, reports WFMJ.

The AG’s office advised petitioners to scrutinize the summary to ensure it accurately captures the proposed statute’s definitions and contents. Now the group must rewrite the summary and get more signatures before it is resubmitted.

Yost Cites 7 Deficiencies In Language

Yost claimed the text failed to explain that employers could choose to discipline or refuse to hire marijuana users. He also said it fails to clearly explain that a six-marijuana-plant-per-person limit applies to both cultivating and possessing the plant. As well, Yost said it doesn’t explain the full authority of the proposed Division of Cannabis Control. The summary also fails to explain the purposes of the “cannabis social equity and jobs program” proposed in the bill.

Yost cited seven deficiencies in the submitted language but said there could be more, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer.

“In total, the summary does not properly advise a potential signer of a proposed measure’s character and limitations,” Yost wrote in a letter to the group’s attorney.

“For these reasons, I am unable to certify the summary as a fair and truthful statement of the proposed chapter. However, I must caution that this is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all defects in the submitted summary,” wrote Yost, a Republican.

Group Will Get More Signatures, Resubmit

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol now must try to address the issues Yost identified. It can then resubmit another batch of at least 1,000 valid signatures.

“All I can really say at this point is it just came in,” said Cleveland attorney Tom Haren, a spokesman for the group. “We’re reviewing. But we do plan to resubmit.”

What The Ohio Measure Would Do

The “Act to Control and Regulate Adult Use Cannabis” would allow adults age 21 and older to buy, possess, grow and use marijuana. Proceeds of a 10% tax on marijuana sales would go to education, addiction treatment and municipalities with Cannabis businesses. Ohio’s medical marijuana businesses, several of which are backing the plan, could automatically get licenses for the adult-use side.

The proposal is an initiated statute. That means it would change Ohio state law and not the state constitution. The attorney general’s approval is the first step in a lengthy process that could end with the November 2022 election.

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