State officials and cannabis legalization advocates agreed on Friday to allow the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like AlcoholCoalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol to retain the signatures they already collected while delaying their campaign until 2023.
The Coalition agreed to delay its legalization campaign until next year in exchange for state officials agreeing to accept the more than 140,000 signatures the coalition had already collected, instead of making it start over from scratch.
This guarantees the validity of the signatures we have already collected, and we have a clearer path if we have to get to the ballot next year, said Tom Haren, spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol per Cleveland.comCoalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol per Cleveland.com.
It's been an arduous legalization campain. The Coalition was sued by House Republicans after they refused to take up the marijuana legalization law that the group proposed under a state mechanism called an initiated statute, through which members of the public can propose new laws. The House GOP pushed back, saying that the group submitted its signatures too late to be considered during this year s legislative session.
Under the statute rules, the public can ask lawmakers to take up a proposed law change if they get the necessary number of signatures - currently 132,887 - from registered voters in Ohio s 44 counties. If lawmakers don't enact the law as written within four months, backers of an initiated statute can get the same number of signatures to force it onto the ballot for the following November election.
The Coalition fell short by some 13,000 signatures in the initial batch after elections officials decided that more than 87,000 signatures were invalid.
The group hit the streets and collected the additional needed signatures during a 10 day cure period, but by that point they had missed the late-December deadline to get the proposal implemented this year, as a result of the late-December deadline.
If the legislature does not act on the legalization measure by April 2023, it will be on the November 2023 ballot, as long as the group can collect the second round of signatures it needs.