Ballot Board certifies med. marijuana initiative

Posted at 2:57 PM, Mar 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-31 17:46:33-04

The Ohio Ballot Board certified an initiative on Thursday that would create a comprehensive medical marijuana program in the state.

The five-member board reviewed proposed ballot measures to ensure they represented only one issue. 

Ohioans for Medical Marijuana now need to collect 305,591 valid signatures of Ohio voters by early July to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine confirmed the group submitted at least 1,000 valid signatures of Ohio voters and determined their initiative summary was "a fair and truthful statement of the proposed law."

The summary and full text of the initiative are available online.

“We plan to mobilize a large group of volunteers, and we’ll be enlisting the help of paid petitioners to meet the state’s sizeable signature requirement in the short amount of time we have,” said Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, which is supporting the initiative. “A lot of our volunteers are family members of patients or patients themselves, so they’re incredibly motivated. The initiative process isn’t easy, but it pales in comparison to undergoing chemotherapy or witnessing your child have seizures on a daily basis.”

“I’m excited to let voters know about this initiative and why it’s so important to me,” said Amanda Candow, a multiple sclerosis patient in Mentor who plans to volunteer for the campaign. “I’m particularly interested in sharing my story with folks who are still skeptical about medical marijuana. My friends and neighbors already know how much this law would help patients like me.”

The Ohio Consumer's Counsel released this statement on Thursday:

“Today’s rulings continue an unwelcome trend of government intervention in competitive markets, at the urging of the state’s electric utilities. As a result, several million Ohioans will pay a lot more for electricity than the market prices intended by the state legislature. It is difficult to connect the dots between electric deregulation and market prices  in the 1999 Ohio law to making consumers pay for re-regulation and subsidized power plants in the decisions today. The Ohio Consumers' Counsel has asked federal officials who oversee the nation's electric markets to protect Ohioans from paying subsidies for power plants.”