ohio rights group

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Ohio: Medical Marijuana Efforts Differ In Who Can Grow, Who Can Use


Ohio looks likely approve medical marijuana, and would become the 25th state to do so if either a new state law clears the Legislature, or a constitutional amendment is approved by voters this November.

State lawmakers and two citizen advocacy groups are working simultaneously to bring medicinal cannabis to Ohioans who have qualifying medical conditions, reports Alan Johnson at The Columbus Dispatch.

Here are some key differences among House Bill 523 (which is the proposed legislation), the Marijuana Policy Project amendment, and the Medicinal Cannabis and Industrial Hemp amendment, according to the Dispatch.

Impact: HB 523, the legislation, would change only Ohio law. Both ballot proposals would amend the Ohio Constitution.

Marijuana in smokeable form: HB 523 does not specifically allow it but doesn’t rule it out. Both ballot issues would allow it.

Home-grown pot: The legislation would not allow growing marijuana at home; both ballot issues would allow it in limited quantities.

Growers: The Marijuana Policy Project amendment would allow 15 large growers and unlimited small growers. Neither the legislation nor the cannabis and hemp amendment specify grower numbers.

Ohio: Group Close To Getting Legalization On Ballot; Accused Of Sabotaging Grassroots Effort


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The group ResponsibleOhio claims it is more than halfway towards its goal of getting marijuana legalization on the state ballot. But advocates trying to put a rival initiative on the November 5 ballot have accused founders of the well-financed ResponsibleOhio of sabotaging its smaller, weaker competitor last year before launching its own effort.

"We have over 160,000 signatures," said Ian James of ResponsibleOhio, reports Elizabeth Faugl at ABC 6. "By the end of this week, we'll have over 200,000. We are shooting for over 700,000 signatures."

But in an April 14 complaint to the Ohio Elections Commission, Ohio Rights Group said the people who went on to create ResponsibleOnhio infiltrated the ORG to get information and talk potential donors out of making contributions, reports Anne Saker at the Cincinnati Enquirer. The complaint accuses Ian James and David Bruno of promising help to ORG then using the knowledge gained to form their own group.

According to the complaint, Bruno used his childhood friendship with ORG Executive Director John Pardee to gain knowledge, and Bruno was taking consultant's fees from ORG while planning ResponsibleOhio.

Ohio: 2 Marijuana Legalization Ballot Measures Emerge


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Not one but two proposed ballot measures to legalize marijuana have emerged on Ohio in the past month.

On Thursday, Ohioans to End Prohibition announced the latest, the Cannabis Control Amendment, which would legalize cannabis sales, use and possession for adults 21 and older, reports the Associated Press. The group hopes to get the measure on the 2016 ballot.

Responsible Ohio in December had announced another proposal which calls for 10 authorized growing locations around the state.

Ohioans to End Prohibition Vice President Jacob Wagner said the new measure was different in that it would not restrict those who want to grow marijuana at home for personal use, just commercial sales.

"Any amendment that might consolidate the prospective economic power of a legal cannabis market in the hands of a chosen few is a raw deal for the people of Ohio," Ohioans to End Prohibition President Sri Kavaru and attorney Jacob Wagner wrote in a Thursday press release.

Kavuru and Wagner said in an interview they planned to announce their plan later this year but announced early after reports surfaced that the group was planning an amendment for the November 2015 ballot, reports Jackie Borchardt of Northeast Ohio Media Group.

Ohio: Medical Marijuana Has Popular Support, Lacks Money To Pass


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

An overwhelming majority of Ohioans believe medical marijuana should be legal, according to a poll released last week. But the Buckeye State appears unlikely to change its cannabis laws this year, because a ballot drive doesn't have enough money, and the Republican-controlled Legislature won't bring the issue up for a vote.

Advocates with the Ohio Rights Group have gathered only 50,000 of the more than 385,000 signatures they'd need by July 2 to qualify for November's ballot, reports Chrissie Thompson at The Cincinnati Enquirer. Estimates for the amount needed to gather the remaining signatures and run a campaign run as high as $10.5 million. They only have about $50,000 in donations they've received or have been promised.

Ohio has no fewer than three medical marijuana amendments whose language has been approved by the Attorney General and the bipartisan Ohio Ballot Board. The Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment has the most signatures (it's the one with 50,000), but supporters would need to hire a signature gathering firm within a month to have any hope of qualifying for the ballot -- much less finance a campaign if they manage to squeak onto the ballot.

Ohio: Advocates Push For Medical Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A leader of the medical marijuana reform movement in Ohio says the numerous benefits of cannabis use mean that it should be legalized for medical and industrial reasons.

John Pardee, president of the Ohio Rights Group, said in addition to the medical benefits of marijuana, hemp, a non-psychoactive variety of cannabis, can be used for food, fuel and fiber, reports Chelsea Miller at the Lorain County Chronicle-Telegram.

Pardee did some research after his son was involved in a near-fatal automobile crash in 2008. He learned that conventional medicine offers few options for pain management other than dangerous opiates -- but he found that medical marijuana is a non-toxic alternative.

"I found that cannabis has not killed anyone," he said to a crowd at Oberlin College on Thursday.

The Ohio Rights Group is sponsoring the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment, which would allow for the medical use of marijuana and the industrial use of hemp. The group has already gathered more than 30,000 signatures from registered Ohio voters, but it needs 385,000 signatures to get the amendment in front of voters on the 2014 ballot.

That's where Cheryl Shuman, "the Martha Stewart of Marijuana," comes in. "She has the biggest megaphone in America today," Pardee said. "She's reached literally millions of people; I couldn't think of a more appropriate person."

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: Four Proposals to Legalize Cannabis Take Root

Ohio Seal

There are four proposals in Ohio to either legalize medicinal cannabis or decriminalize altogether

By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent

Earlier this month, Ohio State Rep. Bob Hagan (D), introduced two bills in the state legislature. The first, HB 153, would legalize cannabis for medicinal use by those with qualifying conditions. The second, HJR 6, would have the legislature put full decriminalization of cannabis on the ballot for Ohio voters.

“We need to admit that we’ve lost the war on drugs. By taxing the sale of marijuana at a reasonable rate, revenue can be used to implement programs that target more harmful drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. We could be making money to hire more police and fire, pull up our education system, put more money toward local government funding," Hagen explained.

Hagen added, "I've watched a lot of people come through my office suffering with maladies that regular prescriptions just didn't help. They asked me to do it, I said fine. It's the second time I've introduced it and it flies in the face of the pharmaceutical industry, but those who asked me to do it really need it because they've tried everything else."

In addition to the legislative bills, a group of grassroots activists in Ohio is also working to get an amendment on the ballot that would change the state constitution and legalize medicinal cannabis and restore industrial hemp.

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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