Group submits petitions asking lawmakers to legalize pot


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A group has submitted petitions asking Ohio lawmakers to pass a bill allowing adults to legally use and grow marijuana plants.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol on Tuesday submitted more than 200,000 signatures to the Ohio Secretary of State. That office and county boards of election will verify if the group collected the nearly 133,000 valid signatures from 44 counties required to place the issue in front of lawmakers.

Should lawmakers reject the proposed measure, the group will need another 133,000 signatures to put the measure on a statewide ballot.

The petition seeks to allow adults 21 and older to buy and possess 2.5 ounces (71 grams) of marijuana and grow up to six plants per person, 12 plants per household.

“The success of our petition drive shows just how eager Ohioans are to end prohibition and legalize the adult use of marijuana,” group spokesperson Tom Haren said in a statement.

Ohio legalized medical marijuana in 2016 with dispensaries opening in early 2019. Rep. Jamie Callender, a Republican from Lake County, introduced a legalization bill in October that calls for a 10% tax on marijuana sales, a provision included in the group’s petitions.

Callender has acknowledged that Republican leaders don’t support his bill.