Pro-marijuana group turns in 95K new signatures to make Ohio ballot

The campaign to legalize marijuana in Ohio turned in more than 95,500 supplemental petition signatures on Thursday in a last push to make the statewide ballot in November.

ResponsibleOhio needs 305,591 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters. Election officials ruled that the campaign had 276,082 valid signatures in the first batch, leaving it 29,509 short.

ResponsibleOhio hopes to make up the shortfall with the 95,572 signatures submitted Thursday.

Josh Eck, spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, said county boards of elections will be asked to validate signatures and return the petitions to the state the week of Aug. 10. State officials must finalize the November ballot by Aug. 25.

“The enthusiastic and overwhelming response we’ve received from hundreds of thousands of voters across the state has shown us one thing — it’s time for marijuana legalization in Ohio,” said ResponsibleOhio Executive Director Ian James in a written statement.

ResponsibleOhio said it will mount a legal challenge to signatures it says were not counted or were improperly invalidated during the initial petition filing. Meanwhile, Husted appointed a special investigator to review petitions submitted by ResponsibleOhio because Husted said there was a discrepancy between the hard-copy petitions and electronic copies that were submitted.

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