Fight For Legalization in Ohio Begins Again
The defeat of ResponsibleOhio last Tuesday was a blow for many marijuana supporters, but good news for a group called Legalize Ohio 2016. The Columbus-based group is gaining momentum as the loss opens up doors for a victory in the next round of elections. They say this isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning.
“I don’t think Ohio is against legalization, I just don’t think it was ready to legalize in the way Issue 3 was proposing,” said Cara Monigold of Ohioans to end Prohibition.
Ratification would have allowed 10 groups owned by campaign investors to open grow factories. Voters in all 88 counties turned down the amendment. Now Legalize Ohio will push its cannabis-control amendment on the 2016 ballot.
“Our state will have a shot at a more open market and a more open industry,” Monigold said. “A lot more people will be helped, a lot more patients will be helped, and a lot more jobs will be created.”
The amendment was verified last June but now the push is on. With ResponsibleOhio in her rearview, Monigold says investors and potential operators are more willing to work with Legalize Ohio.
Tuesday’s results present more possibilities for legalization in a different form.
“Enough Ohioans realized that limiting a new market to the state greatly reduces the amount of jobs that the market can bring to the state,” Monigold said.
The Cannabis-Control Amendment would create an open market and legalize industrial hemp — recreational medicinal marijuana. And as the only approved ballot initiative, Monigold says all eyes are on them.
“There are still a lot of patients in our state that are without medicinal cannabis, so that puts the pressure on us to make sure we get the ballot placement next year,” Monigold said.
Monigold said for now they’re focusing on campaigning and getting more signatures. Legalize Ohio needs 360,000 signatures by July 1 to secure its place on the 2016 ballot.