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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.

Ohio: Campaign To Legalize, Monopolize Marijuana Aims For 2015 Ballot

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Ohio residents could get the chance next year to vote on a marijuana ballot issue unlike any other in the United States, involving 10 wealthy individuals who would invest to obtain the right to grow and sell marijuana wholesale for personal use by adults 21 or older.

A group calling itself ResponsibleOhio said it aims to "end marijuana prohibition" and "pursue a ballot initiative in 2015 to give voters the opportunity to let adults 21 and older use marijuana for medical and personal use," reports Alan Johnson at The Columbus Dispatch.

“Marijuana for medical and personal use should be a choice made by adults 21 and older in this state. We are going to end this failed prohibition,” said Lydia Bolander, spokeswoman for the campaign.

“Legalizing marijuana for medical and personal use means increased safety because we will regulate, tax and treat marijuana like alcohol,” Bolander said. “We will smother the black market and use the taxes generated to help local communities provide vital public services.

“We need to be compassionate and ensure patients receive the treatment they rightfully deserve. We will create jobs in the agricultural, wholesale and retail marketplace, and we will drive research at our universities and hospitals,” Bolander said.

Under the plan, cannabis would be taxed, with the proceed distributed to government, according to the group. The exact method of distribution isn't detailed.

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