Pubdate: Fri, 01 Apr 2016
Source: Dayton Daily News (OH)
Copyright: 2016 Dayton Daily News
Author: Alan Johnson


Ohio Ballot Board Gives Go-Ahead to Secure Names Before Election.

A skeptical Ohio Ballot Board on Thursday gave supporters of a 
medical marijuana constitutional amendment the go-ahead to begin 
collecting signatures for the fall election.

The board, with only three members present, voted 3-0 to approve the 
proposal by the Marijuana Policy Project, a national organization 
working with Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, a state affiliate. The 
group must gather 305,591 valid signatures of registered Ohio voters 
to put the issue on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

If approved, the amendment would allow people with qualifying medical 
conditions, such as cancer, seizures disorders, post-traumatic stress 
disorder and other illnesses, to buy and grow a limited amount of 
marijuana. It would not permit recreational use of marijuana, as the 
ResponsibleOhio amendment defeated last fall would have done.

Secretary of State Jon Husted, chairman of the ballot board, and Sen. 
Bill Coley, R-West Chester, grilled an attorney for the marijuana 
group about several issues, including the number of growers allowed 
and who could prescribe medical marijuana.

Coley ask Christopher P. Finney, the group's Cincinnati attorney, if 
someone would have to be a licensed physician to prescribe medical 
marijuana. When Finney couldn't answer the question, Coley went on to 
slam the amendment, likening it to getting a "permission slip or a 
hall pass" to obtain medical marijuana.

Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy 
Project, said in a statement after the vote, "We plan to mobilize a 
large group of volunteers, and we'll be enlisting the help of paid 
petitioners to meet the state's sizeable signature requirement in the 
short amount of time we have. A lot of our volunteers are family 
members of patients or patients themselves, so they're incredibly 
motivated. The initiative process isn't easy, but it pales in 
comparison to undergoing chemotherapy or witnessing your child have 
seizures on a daily basis.
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