Wording may be key to marijuana amendment

ResponsibleOhio's efforts to legalize marijuana seem likely to head for a vote this November, according to The Columbus Dispatch. The group, which has been attempting to get a proposed constitutional amendment on the Ohio ballot in the fall, has faced some setbacks along the way. Perhaps most significantly, Ohio Secretary of State John Husted recently found that they had fallen 29,509 signatures short of the 305,591 required to get the measure on the ballot, according to the Dayton Daily News. The Dispatch reports that the group submitted 95,572 additional signatures last week, making the proposed amendment seem destined for a vote.

The next hurdle for the group, according to the Dispatch article, is likely to be how the Ohio Ballot Board will word the language of the measure for voters. The board, which is chaired by Husted, gets to determine the wording that will appear on the ballot. Critics of the initiative cite concerns that it will enshrine a monopoly or cartel in the constitution for the 10 investors who control the grow sites designated by the amendment. If language with a negative connotation (such as the word monopoly) appears in the official ballot measure, it may impact the decisions of Ohio voters.

The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports that Husted's office is also currently conducting a fraud investigation into ResponsibleOhio's signature petitions via a special investigator. Husted cited concerns about disparities between the number of signatures collected versus those it submitted and discrepancies between hard-copy and electronic copies of the petitions.

Photo credit: Jon Richfield via Wikimedia Commons.