More than 19,000 Valley residents sign marijuana legalization pe - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

More than 19,000 Valley residents sign marijuana legalization petition

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The Secretary of State's office has begun verifying thousands of signatures on a state-wide petition to legalize marijuana.

ResponsibleOhio submitted the petition to Secretary John Husted’s office Wednesday with intent to place a proposed constitutional amendment on the upcoming ballot.

The amendment calls for the legalization of marijuana for medical and personal use by adults 21 years of age and older.

There were more than 695,000 names on the state-wide petition.  12,115 of the signatures were from Mahoning County, 6,707 were from Trumbull County, and 410 were from Columbiana County.

Now that the petition has been submitted, the Secretary of State’s office and each county's Board of Elections will verify every signature’s validity.  Each signer must be a registered voter and have an Ohio address.

According to the Secretary of State’s office, the petition must still meet two thresholds after some signatures are likely removed by the vetting process. 

First, the total number of signatures must equal at least ten-percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor in the last election.  The number currently mandated by this stipulation is 305,591.

Second, signatures must have been collected from at least 44 counties with amounts equal to 5-percent of the total vote cast for governor in that county in the last election.

The petitioners are given ten additional days to collect extra signatures if the petition is determined to be insufficient.

If both thresholds are met, the amendment will be on the ballot.  As per the Secretary of State’s office, the Ballot Board, comprised of two House representatives and two Senators, will create the ballot language for the proposed amendment.

The amendment also faces new challenge in the form of Joint Resolution 4, a measure passed this week by both the State House and Senate.

Joint Resolution 4 prohibits constitutional amendments that would grant a monopoly to any person or nonpublic entity.

Resolution supporters are concerned that the amendment, which specifically stipulates details about the state's 10 growing facilities, would violate the Resolution's prerequisites.

Meanwhile, Better For Ohio, a group supporting the marijuana amendment, say they do not support the resolution for its “true intention of abrogating the will of the voters in Ohio.”

They ultimately call Joint Resolution 4 “anti-marijuana legislation.” 

ResponsibleOhio also opposes the resolution and will likely campaign against it.

If it reaches the ballot, the marijuana amendment must be approved by a majority of voters to effectively become law.

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