Effort to legalize marijuana in Ohio clears another hurdle

In 2016, Ohio became the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana. LAURA A. BISCHOFF/STAFF
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In 2016, Ohio became the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana. LAURA A. BISCHOFF/STAFF

An effort to legalize marijuana use and sales in Ohio has cleared another hurdle on the path to getting the proposal submitted to the Legislature

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An effort to legalize marijuana use and sales in Ohio has cleared another hurdle on the path to getting the proposal submitted to the Legislature.

The Ohio Ballot Board, a panel of legislative appointees led by Secretary of State Frank LaRose, voted Monday to approve the proposed statute from the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol as a single issue.

The decision means the group can start gathering the nearly 133,000 valid signatures needed to submit the proposed state law to the Ohio Legislature, which will have four months to act. If it does not, the measure would be placed on the Ohio ballot.

The coalition wants to make it legal for adults 21 and older to buy and possess 2.5 ounces (71 grams) of marijuana and grow as many as six plants inside their homes.

If the proposal becomes law, medical marijuana dispensaries, processors and cultivators could seek licenses for recreational marijuana and have exclusive rights for two years.

The Legislature legalized medical marijuana in 2016. Ohio’s first dispensaries opened in January 2019.