Recreational Marijuana Issue May Be On Ohio Ballot In 2019

Photo Credit: James Wood

Ohioans may get the opportunity to vote on legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

The Ohio Ballot Board meet Thursday and certified a petition for another proposed Ohio ballot initiative to legalize recreational pot. The certification sought by Ohio Families for Change is the first step toward the issue appearing on the statewide ballot in 2019.

“Ohio Families for Change is pleased that the Ohio Ballot Board approved the Marijuana Rights and Regulations Amendment as a single issue. A core concept of our proposal is that it provides equal footing for small business owners and entrepreneurs in Ohio, in contrast to past marijuana efforts that would have kept the power in the hands of a select few,” campaign consultant Jonathan Varner said in a statement.

The initiative seeks to allow Ohioans to possess, grow, use, sell and share marijuana. Users would have to be at least 21-years-old to buy, sell, or possess the plant. It would include protections for landlords and employers who want to keep marijuana activities from occurring on their property.

In order to get the issue on the ballot, the group must gather more than 305,000 valid signatures

A similar proposal by ResponsibleOhio failed at the ballot box by a wide margin in 2015. But, Varner said, Ohio Families for Change has a broad coalition of support and will be reaching out to voters.

“We are confident that Ohio voters will overwhelmingly support the proposal,” he said.

Ohioans passed a medical marijuana amendment in 2016. The recreational pot proposal would keep in place the state’s fledgling medical marijuana program.