COLUMBUS, Ohio — Attorney General Mike DeWine on Friday rejected a medical marijuana legalization amendment backed by national group Marijuana Policy Project.
DeWine’s job is not to judge the merit of proposed ballot initiatives but to certify that the petition language accurately summarizes the amendment.
DeWine cited three deficiencies with 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.
Marijuana Policy Project released its proposed Ohio medical marijuana amendment language.
Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Mason Tvert said the group plans to 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.
Getting language approved by the attorney general is the first step in putting an issue on a statewide ballot. Once DeWine determines the amendment summary is a “fair and truthful” summary, the Ohio Ballot Board then decides whether the amendment is one issue or multiple issues.
Then, petitioners must collect more than 305,591 signatures of registered Ohio voters, meeting a threshold in 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties. Amendment backers must submit signatures by July 6 to qualify for the November ballot.
Marijuana Policy Project’s amendment would legalize marijuana use for certain medical conditions with a physician’s approval.
The state would initially issue up to 15 large-scale cultivation licenses and later issue an unlimited amount of small- and medium-scale cultivation licenses. Sales tax would be applied but the amendment prohibits lawmakers from levying additional taxes on the industry.