COLUMBUS, Ohio — A group pushing for the state to legalize recreational marijuana said it has enough signatures to earn consideration from the state.
In order for state lawmakers to consider the initiative, the group needs approximately 132,000 valid signatures from Ohio voters. The group said it was notified by officials that after that batch of signatures was vetted, it still needed 13,000 additional signatures.
“We feel confident that we will meet the signature requirements and look forward to the legislature taking up an issue that a majority of Ohioans support this year,” said spokesman Tom Haren.
In August, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost approved language for the initiative that would legalize possession of as much as 2.5 ounces of pot for adults 21 and older in most forms.
Currently, possession of small amounts of marijuana is considered a minor misdemeanor.
In 2015, Ohio voters soundly turned down — by a 64-36 margin — a ballot measure that would have legalized limited use and possession of recreational marijuana in Ohio. In the years since, a number of states have made recreational marijuana legal.
Unlike the 2015 measure, this proposal would be a statute and not an amendment to the state constitution.
If enough valid signatures are collected, the issue would be forced to go before the Ohio General Assembly. If legislators decide against the measure, the group said they will once again submit signatures to force the issue to be placed on the November ballot.