Ohio marijuana proposal in danger of falling short
CINCINNATI — The marijuana legalization effort in Ohio is in danger because it does not have enough signatures yet to put a measure on the Nov. 3 ballot.
“We’re coming in lower than we were expecting,” said Ian James, executive director of ResponsibleOhio, the private investor group that wants to legalize marijuana this year.
Ohio’s secretary of state is expected to announce as early as Monday whether ResponsibleOhio gathered enough valid signatures of registered Ohio voters to get the measure before voters in 2015. ResponsibleOhio needs 305,591 signatures to qualify. On June 30, the group turned in 695,273 signatures with the goal of ensuring it would have the right number, 50%, to qualify.
In four southwest Ohio counties, final counts show the petition campaign had a majority of valid signatures only in Warren County, at 53%. Hamilton County had a 33.74% validity rate. Butler and Clermont counties came in at 41%.
If the secretary of state finds that ResponsibleOhio did not get to 305,591, the group has 10 calendar days to send out its army of signature gatherers in hopes of hitting the target.
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Crowds count down to legalization of marijuana in Oregon, then light up
PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - Crowds counted down the minutes to midnight then lit up joints as smoking marijuana became legal in Oregon on Wednesday, part of a growing legalization movement spreading down the United States' west coast.
Hundreds gathered on the Burnside Bridge in downtown Portland and smoked under the glow of a neon city sign, marking the moment that the law allowing recreational use, backed by voters in November, came into effect.
The legislation opens the way for shops to sell marijuana by next year - though some lawmakers say they will still try to block retail outlets.
Similar legislation is already in force in Alaska and Washington State, reflecting a shifting legal landscape for a drug that remains illegal under federal law.
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