mike dewine

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Ohio: Marijuana 'Grow Operations' Found At Slaying Sites

Rhoden family homicides.jpg

Investigators found three marijuana "grow operations" in southern Ohio at rural residences where eight family members were killed, state Attorney General Mike DeWine said at a news conference Sunday.

Authorities would not say whether they thought the killings were drug-related, but an official with knowledge of the operation told CNN, "This operation was not for personal use; it was for something much bigger than that. It was a very sophisticated operation."

The killings took place in Piketon, a small town of about 2,000 people 90 miles east of Cincinnati.

The victims ranged in age from 16 to 44, and were all methodically shot in the head Friday before dawn while sleeping at four different residences. A 3-year-old and a 6-mont-old were spared, along with a 4-day-old infant found lying next to its murdered mother.

"This was a preplanned execution of eight individuals," DeWine said. "It was a sophisticated operation and those who carried it out were trying to do everything they could do to hinder the investigation and their prosecution."

The killer or killers were specifically going after the Rhoden family, Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader emphasized, though he didn't say why. The suspects are probably armed and a danger to surviving family members, he added.

Ohio: Medical Marijuana Certified For Ballot; Supporters Prepare To Gather Signatures


The Ohio Ballot Board on Thursday certified an initiative that would establish a comprehensive medical marijuana program in Ohio. Ohioans for Medical Marijuana must now collect 305,591 valid signatures of Ohio voters by early July to qualify for the November 2016 ballot.

The five-member board reviews proposed ballot measures to ensure they represent only one issue.

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

The summary and full text of the initiative are available online at https://www.ohioansformmj.org/initiative.

“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 (MPP), which is supporting the initiative.

“A lot of our volunteers are family members of patients or patients themselves, so they’re incredibly motivated," Tvert said. "The initiative process isn’t easy, but it pales in comparison to undergoing chemotherapy or witnessing your child have seizures on a daily basis.”

Ohio: Medical Marijuana Initiative Certified By Attorney General; Advances to Secretary of State


The measure proposed by Ohioans for Medical Marijuana would allow patients with debilitating medical conditions to legally access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Friday notified Ohioans for Medical Marijuana that he has certified the summary of the group’s proposed ballot initiative to establish a comprehensive medical marijuana program and submitted it to the Ohio Secretary of State.

The attorney general confirmed the group submitted at least 1,000 valid signatures of Ohio voters and determined their initiative summary “is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed law.”

The summary and full text of the initiative are available online at https://www.ohioansformmj.org/initiative.

The Ohio Ballot Board will now have 10 days to review the measure and confirm it complies with Ohio initiative laws. Initiative backers will then need to collect an additional 305,591 valid signatures of Ohio voters by early July in order to qualify for the November 2016 ballot.

“We’re pleased with the attorney general’s determination and appreciate his guidance during this process,” said Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which is supporting the initiative. “Ohio is one step closer to adopting a sensible medical marijuana law that ensures seriously ill people have safe and legal access to their medicine. We’re looking forward to hearing back from the secretary of state and getting our petition drive started as soon as possible.”

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Ohio: Attorney General Rejects Medical Marijuana Amendment

Ohio marijuana.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Ohio Attorney General rejected a medical marijuana legalization amendment on Friday backed by the national group Marijuana Policy Project.

Attorney General Mike DeWine's job is to certify that the language in the petition is accurate in its summary of the amendment, not to judge the merit of the proposed amendment.

DeWine based his rejection on three weak points in the submission from Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, the political action committee formed by Marijuana Policy Project:

-The summary states that "tier 1" medical marijuana cultivation facility licenses are capped at 15, but the proposed amendment contains provisions for issuing additional licenses.

-The summary states that the amendment does not prevent a person from being penalized for "operating a motor vehicle, aircraft, train, or motorboat while impaired by marijuana," but the amendment says medical marijuana patients would not be considered impaired "solely because of the presence of metabolites or components of marijuana that appear in insufficient concentration to cause impairment."

-The summary says states there shall be additional ways to obtain patient registry identification cards under certain conditions after July 1, 2017, but the proposed amendment lists that date as Aug. 1, 2017.

Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, said they will resubmit a revised petition next week.

"This is just part of Ohio's very rigorous initiative process, so it's not particularly surprising," Tvert said.

Ohio: Group Releases Specifics of New Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana could be on the November's ballot in Ohio if 305,291 signatures of registered voters are collected.

The plan, which could provide medicinal cannabis to an estimated 215,000 Ohioans with qualifying medical conditions by 2018, is backed by the D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, which has been successful with ballot initiatives in other states, reports Alan Johnson at The Columbus Dispatch.

A year after Ohioans overwhelmingly rejected a for-profit plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state, the MPP is counting on the differences in the plans to mean success this time. ResponsibleOhio's plan would have handed over control of commercial cannabis cultivation in the state to a dozen wealthy investors who backed the campaign.

MPP will be working locally through a group called Ohioans for Medical Marijuana.

“The Ohio initiative is similar to the medical-marijuana laws in 23 states and the District of Columbia,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the MPP, reports Meghan Matthews at WBNS-10TV. “The Ohio initiative will allow patients with a list of medical problems to use, possess, and grow their own medical marijuana if they have the approval of their physicians.”

Ohio: Toledo Marijuana Decrim Law Now In Effect


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The parts of Toledo, Ohio's new marijuana decriminalization law which abolish jail and fines for possessing pot is now being honored, even though the recently adopted "Sensible Marihuana Ordinance" remains in limbo in a legal contest between the city and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Twenty-one people have been charged with marijuana possession in Toledo Municipal Court since voters approved the ordinance on September 15, reports Tom Troy at The Blade.

Among those cases, only one defendant, 18-year-old Mariah Smith, has been convicted. She pleaded no contest and was "sentenced" to no fine and no jail time.

In the other cases, the defendants are still waiting for trail or authorities reduced the charge to disorderly conduct.

Atty. Gen. DeWine and others filed suit to block sections of the law that attempt to rewrite Ohio state felony law regarding marijuana.

By a 70 to 30 percent vote, Toledo residents in September approved the citizen initiative that wrote a new ordinance into the Toledo Municipal Code which decriminalizes marijuana and hashish possession. Fewer than 10 percent of registered city voters turned out for the election.

The new city ordinance reduces all the penalties, no matter the quantity, to zero dollars in fines and zero time in jail.

Ohio: Lawmakers Plan Town Hall Meetings On Medical Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two members of the Ohio Legislature will be holding a Thursday press conference to announce details regarding the creation of a bipartisan task force in charge of "addressing the issue" of medical marijuana.

Speaker of the Ohio house Clifford A. Rosenberg (R-Clarksville) and state Rep. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) will hold the press conference, reports Kevin Landers at 10TV.

Following the November defeat of Issue 3, which would have made cannabis legal in Ohio but would have awarded a growing monopoly to those who funded the campaign, lawmakers said they "learned there is growing support" among voters for medical marijuana. What has happened is that these dudes saw public opinion polls last year showing roughly 85 percent of Ohioans support medical marijuana, which makes it politically safe.

The idea behind the town hall meetings is to bring both sides of the issue together, and to include the public in the discussion.

Many patients who use cannabis say it offers better results than pharmaceutical pain pills. A patient named Aaron said he became addicted to opiates after back surgery, then switched to marijuana because it helps reduce his pain without the side effects of the pain pills.

Ohio: Marijuana Legalization Debate Far From Over


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Issue 3, a well-funded proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio, failed at the polls in November, but the issue isn't going anywhere.

More ballot initiatives are in the works, and state lawmakers have promised action on medical marijuana, reports Jackie Borchardt at Cleveland.com. Activists across the state are working on local ballot measures that would decriminalize pot possession.

Advocates struggled for years, with almost no funding, to put a marijuana initiative on the Ohio ballot. But in 2015, wealthy investors banded together with the name ResponsibleOhio to propose Issue 3, which would have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana. Funders, in exchange for giving $20 million to the campaign, would have owned the only 10 sites commercial cultivation sites allowed in the state.

Ohio voters didn't want that marijuana monopoly; 64 percent of them rejected Issue 3 at the voting booth. But according to experts, Issue 3 shouldn't be seen as an up-or-down vote on marijuana legalization, because it was so crappily written.

It's interesting that would-be "activists" like Russ Belville cluelessly brayed about Issue 3 needing to pass to "send a message" about legalization. The only "message" that passing garbage like Issue 3 would have sent is that "people would vote for anything if you just call it legalization"... a premise which, as we have learned, is quite faulty.

Ohio: Attorney General Looking At Drafting His Own Medical Marijuana Proposal


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Things are getting crazy in Ohio. One recreational marijuana legalization proposal, which appears headed for the ballot, would hand over control of all growing in the state to just 10 companies. And now Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has said he has staff looking into a medical marijuana proposal which they'd draft themselves.

The proposal would be "very limited" and "tightly controlled," DeWine told Alan Johnson at The Columbus Dispatch. A Republican who opposes recreational cannabis legalization, DeWine wouldn't commit to saying he supports legalizing medical marijuana.

But the Attorney General did grant that there are people who definitely could use it; he said he's having his staff work up a proposal before consulting with state lawmakers.

Staffers are reviewing medical marijuana systems in other states to see if it's possible to set up rules that can't be exploited by recreational pot users, DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney said on Friday, reports Jeremy Pelzer of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. Specifically, Tierney said staffers are investigating methods of administration such as ointments or pills, which don't involve smoking.

Tierney said it's still "far too early" to say if or when DeWine will take such a step. The Attorney General still has "grave concerns" about full marijuana legalization, according to Tierney.

Ohio: Ballot Initiative Would Legalize Cannabis, Give Control To 10 Corporations


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

All cannabis legalization measures aren't created equally. Some of them, in fact, are written downright sloppily; the beleaguered medical marijuana patients in Washington state, for instance, could testify to that fact, with the problem-plagued implementation of I-502 seemingly headed toward shutting down safe access in that state.

The reason is that capitalism is beginning to eclipse activism in the race to legalize weed nationwide, as pointed out by David Downs on SF Gate.

The Ohio Ballot Board on Friday unanimously approved Responsible Ohio's amendment; Attorney General Mike DeWine certified the ballot petition's wording last week. That means the group can start collecting the 305,000 signatures it needs to quality for this November's ballot.

The amendment would legalize the sale of cannabis for recreational and medical purposes, and set up grow sites around the state. It would allow adults 21 and over to grow up to four plants per household, give medical cannabis to patients at cost, and create 1,000 retail and manufacturing licenses available to the general public.

Unfortunately, that's not all the proposal would do. Just 10 companies who funded the initiative -- the 10 firms in question have thrown in $36 million so far -- would be allowed to cultivate and extract cannabis in Ohio.

Ohio: Man Kills Himself During Marijuana Farm Standoff


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Timothy Sturgis just wanted to be left alone to grow his marijuana. When the time came, Sturgis, 42, on Tuesday night shot himself after a two-hour standoff with law enforcement.

Sturgis kept a loaded gun in every room of his home in Ashille, reports Holly Zachariah at The Columbus Dispatch. Cops propped each of the 10 guns they seized from the Pickaway County property on Wednesday next to a mirror. A bow and arrows hung on the enclosed back porch.

A German shepherd guarded the 21 acres surrounding a well-hidden farmhouse, and a Doberman pinscher kept wath inside. An alarm at the end of the long driveway was triggered whenever anyone approached.

Sturgis shot himself after a standoff in the woods and thick, 14-foot-high weeds and brush behind his home at 15240 Lockbourne Eastern Road in Ashville. He was pronounced dead at 8:56 p.m. on Tuesday night.

"Just talked to him Sunday, always a friendly guy asking how things were going," commented "ThisNameWasntTaken" on Topix.com. "Total shock."

Ohio: Attorney General Rejects Proposed Amendment to Legalize Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Monday rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana in the state.

DeWine turned down petitioners for the End Ohio Cannabis Prohibition Act, reports Alan Johnson at The Columbus Dispatch, listing four reasons that the summary was not "fair and truthful" as required by state law.

The petition was submitted on August 2 by three Ohio residents filing as Responsible Ohioans for Cannabis, including activist Tonya Davis of Dayton suburb Kettering. It had 2,304 signatures of registered voters, more than double the 1,000 required.

DeWine said the submitted ballot summary omitted references to amendment language which repudiates federal cannabis prohibition, and to language saying "persons cannot be considered to be under the influence of cannabis 'solely because of the presence of metabolites or components of cannabis in his or her body.' "

The attorney general also faulted the summary for saying education will be provided about the "medical harms or benefits from the personal use of cannabis products," although the actual amendment includes no such provision.

DeWine also said the summary did not refer to language in the body of the amendment which says the departments of Agriculture and Commerce would be responsible for overseeing the marijuana program.

Ohio: Medical Marijuana Advocates Optimistic For 2014


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Backers of Ohio's third attempt in less than two years to legalize medical marijuana believe that the third time's the charm. They insist their latest effort will be successful, as Michigan's was in 2008.

"There's far more interest in people backing this one, particularly those who want to bring people into the political arena in 2014," said Bob Fitrakis, a member of the Ohio Rights Group, which is behind the latest effort, reports Jim Provance of The Toledo Blade.

Both Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Ohio Ballot Board have approved language that would be shown to potential petition signers. But, skeptics point out, its two predecessors also reached that point, in late 2011 and early 2012, and both these efforts fizzled.

Ohio Rights Group members said they know the group will need financial support and probably a wealthy benefactor if it is to be successful at gathering almost 400,000 valid signatures from registered voters in the state.

Five of the six members making up the petition committee of the Ohio Rights Group were also on the petition committees for the 2011 and 2012 efforts, but they say they've learned some lessons along the way.

Unlike the first two medical marijuana petition drives, the proposed Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment contains the political buzzword "rights."

Ohio: Ballot Drive Launched To Legalize Medical Marijuana

Ohio: Ballot Drive Launched To Legalize Medical MarijuanaBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Ohio voters could get the chance to decide on a constitutional amendment that would legalize medical marijuana and create a million new jobs statewide, if the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment gets the necessary signatures.

The signature drive for the amendment, which would allow medicinal use of cannabis and the cultivation of industrial hemp, was launched over the weekend in Lorain County, reports Jessica James at the Northern Ohio Morning Journal.

Ohio Rights Group President John Pardee and his wife Linda, of Amherst, attended an event in Oberlin on Saturday which launched the drive to collect 1,000 signatures required for the approval of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine for a full statewide petition.

If approved by the attorney general, the group will need 385,000 signatures of valid voters to get the amendment on the ballot.

"We are for medical marijuana for qualifying residents and veterans in need, but we're also incorporating the permission for farmers to grow industrial hemp," said Pardee. "There are very low levels of THC, the psychoactive drug compound in marijuana, in hemp. But because it's a part of the cannabis genus, it is also prohibited."

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