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Published: Saturday, 1/21/2012

Petition language OK'd for 2nd pot proposal


COLUMBUS -- A second proposed constitutional amendment to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes came a step closer Friday to beginning the process of gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures to put the issues before voters.

Attorney General Mike DeWine certified that the proposed petition language placed before him was an accurate representation of what the so-called Ohio Medical Cannibis Amendment would do.

In October, he approved the petition language of another proposed constitutional amendment, the Ohio Alternative Treatment Amendment.

Supporters of each must now gather at least 385,245 valid signatures of registered voters, the equivalent of 10 percent of those who voted in the 2010 gubernatorial election. It would be an uphill battle for one of the questions to reach this year's ballot since the window for November would close near the beginning of July.

Both would allow adults diagnosed with debilitating medical conditions to use, possess, produce, and buy marijuana to alleviate their symptoms. They differ, however, in the mechanisms they would use to regulate the process.

The Ohio Ballot Board must next weigh in to determine whether the question proposes a single change to the constitution or should be divided into multiple questions.

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