CLEVELAND (WJW) – It’s been an ongoing push to make recreational marijuana legal in Ohio.
Last week, a group called “Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol” delivered petitions with more than 220,000 signatures to the office of the Ohio Secretary of State.
But spokesman Tom Haren says his group fell short after the state determined hundreds of signatures were invalid.
“Signatures can be rejected by the local boards of election for any number of reasons. If a signature doesn’t match or a voter is registered to vote in Cuyahoga County, but they mistakenly signed a Lorain County petition,” Haren said.
But in recent days, Haren says they’ve seen a groundswell of support from volunteers and activists throughout the state, holding signature gathering events.
Ohio would become the 24th state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
The ballot measure proposes allowing adults 21 and over to buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and grow plants at home.
“As far as law enforcement here in Ohio, I know our officers are still going to go out there, they’re still going to make traffic stops.”
Det. Sgt. Matt Beck with North Olmsted police, who over the years has seen marijuana decriminalized from a felony to misdemeanor, says he’s not against the legalization, as long as it’s regulated properly.
“Similar to alcohol and tobacco, they tax it accordingly and make the use of marijuana sustainable for the state of Ohio,” Beck said.
The proposal calls for a 10% tax on each marijuana product sold.
Haren is confident his group will find the roughly 700 signatures needed by this Friday’s deadline.
“Of all these states that have made the decision to regulate, not a single one has repealed that decision because these programs work,” he said.