Group trying to get medical pot on Ohio ballot for November

The Marijuana Policy Project wants to set up a system in the Buckeye State, similar to 23 other states.

FILE - In this file photo taken Jan. 13, 2015, marijuana plants sit under powerful lamps in a growing facility in Arlington, Wash. Washington launched its second-in-the-nation legal marijuana market with just a handful of stores selling high-priced pot to long lines of customers. A year later, the state has about 160 shops open, tax revenues have soared past expectations and sales top $1.4 million per day. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A national group is working to get medical marijuana legalized in Ohio on the November ballot.

Last November, voters overwhelmingly turned down an initiative to legalize recreational and medical use of the drug. This time, the initiative seeks to legalize only medical marijuana, hoping to be the 24th state to legalize the drug for medical use.

The Marijuana Policy Project is in the process of collecting the first round of signatures, which group members say should be done by Thursday. After that, those signatures and the ballot language must be submitted to the state.

2016 Marijuana Policy Project’s Medical Marijuana Initiative – Summary
2016 Marijuana Policy Project’s Medical Marijuana Initiative – Full Text

“The people of Ohio clearly support medical marijuana,” said state Rep. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman.

The group is now looking at the 23 other states where medical marijuana is legal, seeing what works and what didn’t work.

If approved by voters, patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis or other illnesses would apply for a medical ID card. A physician would need to approve it, and the request then goes to Ohio’s executive branch.

The cost of the card would likely be less than $40.

“That card will allow police to determine who is actually permitted to actually have medical marijuana in the State of Ohio,” Schiavoni said.

The constitutional amendment also spells out a timeline for the state to issue regulations and retail business to sell the drug to people with a medical ID.

Schiavoni said an issue like this should go through the legislative process, instead of a yes or no vote from the public.

“You come up with an idea, you put it in committee, and then you have people come testify about why they like it, why they don’t like it, possible changes necessary, and then you amend the bill, based on feedback,” he said.

The Senate and House have recently heard testimony about medical marijuana.

2016 Medical Marijuana Initiative – Q&A

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