Backers of a proposed 2016 ballot measure to establish a comprehensive medical marijuana program in Ohio resubmitted their initiative petition to the Ohio Attorney General on Tuesday with more than 2,800 signatures.
The office has 10 days to examine the official summary of the initiative and confirm the petition contains at least 1,000 valid signatures of Ohio voters. The petition will then be sent to the Ohio Ballot Board, which will have 10 days to review the measure and confirm it complies with Ohio initiative laws. Initiative backers will then need to collect an additional 305,591 valid signatures of Ohio voters by early July in order to qualify for the November ballot.
Attorney General Mike DeWine notified Ohioans for Medical Marijuana on Friday that he had rejected the group’s initial submission because he found three deficiencies in the official summary of the initiative.
In addition to addressing the attorney general’s comments in the summary, initiative backers amended the initiative to include additional debilitating medical conditions that would be covered by the program. Specifically, the new version includes autism with aggressive or self-injurious behaviors, sickle cell anemia, severe fibromyalgia, spinal cord disease, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury or post-concussion syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, and Huntington’s disease. It would also make Ohio the first state to allow medical marijuana as a treatment for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as CTE, a degenerative brain disease found in professional football players and others who have experienced repetitive brain trauma.
Revised versions of the full initiative text and the official initiative summary are available online at https://www.ohioansformmj.org/initiative.
“We’re confident that we have addressed the sections of the initiative summary that the attorney general deemed deficient,” said Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, which is supporting the initiative. “We also expanded the list of medical conditions that will qualify for the program based on feedback we received from patients and medical professionals.
“There’s a mountain of evidence demonstrating medical marijuana can be beneficial in the treatment of a variety of debilitating conditions,” Tvert said. “Our goal is to make sure any seriously ill person who could benefit from medical marijuana will be able to access it safely and legally if their doctor recommends it.”