responsibleohio

Ohio: Medical Marijuana Bill To Be Introduced In State Senate

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Ohio Legislature could debate a medical marijuana bill as early as next month, but it's still unclear whether Republicans, who control the statehouse, will support the legislation.

Sen. Kenny Yuko said he plans to introduce a bill in the coming weeks based on medicinal cannabis laws in 23 other states and the District of Columbia, reports Jackie Borchardt at Cleveland.com. People with certain medical conditions, including seizure disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could be authorized by their physician to buy and consume cannabis if the bill is approved.

Yuko didn't give additional details about the bill, including who might grow cannabis for the program. He said his bill is a "starting point" and he hopes his Senate colleagues will weigh in so it can be passed before June.

"It's a piece of legislation that most people who are reading it are finding palatable and are supportive of it," Yuko said.

Lawmakers need to pass the bill before they adjourn for their summer break in June, according to Yuko. They likely won't return to work until after the November election, and by then, voters could have already rendered their action moot.

Three constitutional amendments legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes have been proposed this year. Polls show Ohio voters overwhelmingly support medical marijuana.

Ohio: Group Releases Specifics of New Medical Marijuana Ballot Measure

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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: Marijuana Policy Project Wants Medical Cannabis On November Ballot

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Marijuana Policy Project has set its sights on legalizing medicinal cannabis this November in Ohio.

Staff with MPP, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that was behind the successful recreational marijuana legalization drive in Colorado, said they can learn from ResponsibleOhio's failed $20 million campaign to legalize recreational and medicinal cannabis last fall, reports Jessie Balmert of Gannett Ohio. Nearly two-thirds of voters opposed that ballot initiative, which would have handed control of commercial cannabis cultivation to a few campaign investors.

"It's quite clear that voters do not support anything that could be perceived as a monopoly or oligopoly," MPP spokesman Mason Tvert said. Ohio voters in November also approved a proposal from lawmakers to ban monopolies in the state constitution, a response on the marijuana investors behind the ResponsibleOhio attempt to monopolize commercial cannabis cultivation in the state.

MPP didn't back or invest in ResponsibleOhio's failed campaign, but the national group didn't actively oppose it, either. Now, though, MPP seems eager to distance itself from the expensive, futile effort. MPP won't be working with ResponsibleOhio leader Ian James or his political consulting group, according to Tvert.

Ohio: Marijuana Legalization Debate Far From Over

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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: Medical Marijuana Research Center Planned For Grow Site

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A nonprofit cannabis research institute plans to build a $24 million facility in Ohio and offer medical marijuana insurance if recreational legalization measure Issue 3 passes on November 3.

The International Cannabinoid Institute, a new Ohio-based nonprofit, announced on Tuesday it will rent land in Licking County from, you guessed it, investors who are backing the marijuana legalization ballot issue.

Issue 3 would legalize recreational and medical marijuana sales and use, but would limit commercial growing to just 10 sites owned by the wealthy investors who financed the measure.

Opposition has arisen to Issue 3 because of how it limits commercial growing to those who financed the ballot issue, reports Jackie Borchardt of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. The preselection of site owners means that only investors in ResponsibleOhio, the political action committee backing the measure, would get to participate in the new marijuana cultivation industry.

Wealthy investors have contributed more than $20 million to the campaign, which would basically enshrine their marijuana monopoly into the state constitution.

Ohio: 3 Cleveland City Council Members Endorse ResponsibleOhio Legalization Plan

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A trio of Cleveland City Council members, along with civil rights leader George Forbes, on Friday endorsed ResponsibleOhio, sponsors of Issue 3, an amendment to legalize marijuana on the November ballot which would legalize marijuana.

Forbes and council members Ken Johnson, Jeff Johnson and Mamie Mitchell said they want to help reshape the criminal justice system under which racial disparities exist between arrest rates of blacks who use marijuana compared to whites, reports Mark Naymik at the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

"We should take (marijuana) out of the darkness and begin to regulate it," said Jeff Johnson at a news conference organized by ResponsibleOhio. "It will relieve a pathway to prison that too many of our young African Americans have gone to."

The council members said police resources should be used to fight against more powerful drugs, such as heroin and cocaine.

Cleveland activist Basheer Jones and Cleveland Rev. Jeff Jemison also joined the politicians. Jemison said he'd been trying to sell his colleagues on a related issue known as the Fresh Start Act that would allow Ohioans convicted of pot offenses since legalized by ResponsibleOhio's constitutional amendment to have those records expunged or destroyed.

Ohio: Fears Of Marijuana Monopoly Undercut Support For Legalization Measure

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

If a ballot measure says "legalization" on it, it's always good, right? RIGHT? Maybe not.

A proposal that could this November make Ohio the fifth state to legalize recreational marijuana is drawing some unusual opposition -- and it's coming from residents who support legalizing marijuana, reports Lewis Wallace at NPR.

Lots of liberals and old hippies don't like the monopoly aspect of the referendum. Samantha Van Ness, 25, said that while she's all for legalizing cannabis, she's dead set against the amendment that will be on November's ballot.

"I would rather take the minor misdemeanor fine than let someone have such a massive monopoly in my state," she said. And that's reflected statewide among many who have problems with the initiative and with the group, ResponsibleOhio, that's pushing it.

One of the biggest reasons why is that the initiative specifies just 10 locations in the state where growing marijuana would be allowed. And, guess what? Ten groups of investors already have those sites locked down, ladies and gentlemen.

Those same investors -- surprise, surprise! -- are sinking $20 million into the campaign to make sure their massively profitable monopoly comes to pass. "So in essence," reports NPR, "they are paying to try to amend the Ohio Constitution to grant themselves pot growing rights."

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

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

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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.

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