NewsOhio News


Coalition to Legalize Marijuana Like Alcohol petition falls short on signatures

Medical marijuana
Posted at 2:04 PM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-04 14:44:50-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Last month, the Coalition to Legalize Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted more than 200,000 signatures to the Ohio Secretary of State's Office for verification to have its measure presented to lawmakers but has since come up short through the verification process as signatures were invalided.

The numbers
According to a letter sent to the coalition from Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, dated Jan. 3, his office certified 119,825 of the signatures presented, 13,062 short of the signatures required. The coalition now has until Jan. 14 to obtain the additional signatures.

Here's a look at seven Northeast Ohio counties and the number of signatures collected.

CountyNumber of Valid SignaturesNumber of Invalid Signatures

CLICK HERE for a look at all 88 counties.

Lawmakers will have four months to act on the proposal if enough valid signatures are collected. The group can gather an additional 133,000 valid signatures to put a measure on a statewide ballot if lawmakers don't act.

"We think this is a minor, temporary blip in the process. We fully expect and we are supremely confident that we’ll be able to gather the required number of signatures within the cure period," said coalition spokesperson Tom Haren. "We have army of folks out in the field as we speak. We’re well-equipped."

The letter the coalition received didn't specifically state why so many signatures were found to be invalid.

Haren said the decision to invalidate signatures could have been done for a myriad of reasons and is handled at the county board of election level. Things such as technical issues, signature not matching and people being registered in the wrong county and other such things could have caused the signatures to be invalided, he said.

News 5 has reached out to state officials for more information.

The proposal
The proposed law would legalize and regulate the cultivation, manufacture, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products to residents 21 and up. The proposal allows for the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or 15 grams of marijuana extract.

It would also legalize growing at home up to six marijuana plants per person over 21 and 12 plants per household.

In addition to regular local and state sales taxes, the statute would include a 10% tax rate on sales, with proceeds from the tax allocated as follows, according to the news release:

● 36% of the tax will support social equity and jobs programs - if passed, it is estimated this could generate $150 million or more annually for social equity and jobs programs in Ohio.
● 36% to provide funding for communities who host adult use cannabis dispensaries - if passed, it is estimated this could generate $150 million or more annually for the communities who have adult use dispensaries.
● 25% to fund education and treatment for individuals with addiction issues - if passed, this statute could generate $104 million or more annually to research and treat substance abuse in Ohio.
● 3% to the Division of Cannabis Control and Tax Commissioner fund to cover regulatory and administrative costs for overseeing the adult use cannabis industry.

CLICK HERE to read the full proposal.

The Associated Press and Ohio Capital Journal contributed to this report.

RELATED: Enough signatures collected to present marijuana legalization statute to lawmakers, group says

Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.

You can also catch News 5 Cleveland on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu Live and more. We're also on Amazon Alexa devices. Learn more about our streaming options here.