Ohioans for Medical Marijuana suspend ballot initiative campaign

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on May 31, 2016.

The Ohioans for Medical Marijuana announced on Saturday that organisers decided to give a pause on the collection of signatures for the November ballot after state lawmakers passed a medical marijuana bill earlier this week.

The organizers for medical marijuana had been working to collect the more than 305,000 valid signatures it needed by July 6 to make the November ballot. Unlike the ballot initiative, the proposals of legislators would not allow smoking marijuana or growing it at home. However, it would allow its use in vapor form for certain chronic health conditions.

The new measure would legalize most forms of medical marijuana while providing oversight from the Ohio Department of Commerce, Ohio Pharmacy Board and Ohio State Medical Board. It still requires Gov. John Kasich's signature. The State Department of Commerce would regulate marijuana cultivation and distribution and requires each dispensary to employ a registered pharmacist.

The state medical board would oversee recommending doctors and provide them with continuing education. Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, welcomed the Saturday announcement, and praised “the General Assembly's willingness to listen and respond to the will of Ohioans.” He said in a statement that the legislation that was passed would provide a system for legalizing medical marijuana that is tightly regulated but accessible to those who need it.

Without Marijuana Policy Project, Ohioans will not be voting on medical marijuana this fall. Athens-based Grassroots Ohio, which has an initiative to allow medical marijuana and hemp growing on farms, won't try for the November ballot. Attorney Don E. Wirtshafter said the group will shoot for the 2017 ballot instead.

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