COLUMBUS — The drive to make Ohio the 18th state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes hit a speed bump Wednesday.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine sent the Ohio Coalition for Medical Compassion back to the drawing board after determining that the group failed to file the 1,000 valid signatures of registered voters needed to put proposed language for a constitutional amendment before him.
Of the 2,143 raw signatures submitted, less than 25 percent, 534 signatures, survived scrutiny by county boards of election. Mr. DeWine never got to the issue of whether the proposed petition language would have accurately represented what the amendment would have done.
The Ohio Alternative Treatment Amendment would decriminalize the possession, delivery, transport, and cultivation of marijuana when it is used to treat or alleviate medical symptoms. An approved patient could possess up to 3.5 usable ounces of marijuana as well as up to 12 cannabis plants for his own medical use.
The proposed ballot issue’s backers must now gather 1,000 new signatures to again put its proposed language in front of Mr. DeWine.
They would then have to gather at least 385,245 more signatures, the equivalent of 10 percent of those who voted in the 2010 gubernatorial election.
At the earliest, the proposal could not reach the ballot before November of 2012.