Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost rejected a proposed marijuana-related constitutional amendment Monday that aimed to regulate marijuana like alcohol.
Yost halted the amendment proposal because it did not gather enough valid signatures.
“Because your submission did not contain the verified signatures of at least one thousand qualified electors, we must reject it,” Yost wrote in the letter to the petitioning committee. “Finally, because the petition failed to meet the signature threshold, I have not made any determination concerning the fairness and truthfulness of the proposed summary.”
In Ohio, an initiative must gather 1000 verified signatures from state registered voters to have the state’s attorney general to evaluate the proposed summary.
Marijuana Rights and Regulations petitioners submitted part petitions that had 1,248 submitted signatures. However, when Yost’s office reviewed the signatures only 271 of them were deemed valid.
Earlier this month, Yost impeded the petition’s original act called “An Amendment to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” because of its summary language.
The original submission wanted to allow anyone over 21 in the state to be able “to buy, possess and consume limited amounts of marijuana and to grow up to six plants,” according to Daily Dayton News.
“Section (A) of the proposed amendment lists several findings and declarations that the amendment proposes to be made by ‘the people of the state of Ohio.’ The summary makes no mention of these findings and declarations,” Yost’s rejection letter says. “Thus, it completely fails to inform a potential signer that the amendment elevates these ‘findings and declarations’ to a constitutional standard.”
The attorney general’s act of halting the original version of the petition effectively restarts the process, meaning the petitioners have to gather another 1,000 signatures from voters registered in Ohio.
When supporters gather 1,000 valid signatures, and have the summary language approved by the attorney general’s office, then it will go to the Ohio Ballot Board for review. If the board were to approve this amendment, supporters would have until July 1 to collect 442,958 voter signatures in order to appear on November’s ballot.
Five years ago, Ohioans denied a constitutional amendment in a vote 64 percent to 36 percent that would have made recreational marijuana legal in the state.
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Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Star News Digital Media. If you have any tips, email Zachery at [email protected]