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Will Ohio legalize marijuana this year?
COLUMBUS – The race to make Ohio the fifth state to legalize marijuana starts this week, as activists seek the Midwestern, swing-state win that would cement their momentum nationwide.
The bipartisan Ohio Ballot Board on Friday approved a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would
•allow pot use by adults over the age of 21,
•legalize medical marijuana for minors, with parental consent,
•limit the commercial growth of marijuana to 10 sites owned by the investors that are paying for the ballot campaign. Adults over the age of 21 would be able to obtain a license to grow up to four marijuana plants for their personal use, but not for sale.
Now, supporters must gather nearly 306,000 signatures by July to reach their goal of qualifying for the November 2015 ballot – a target well within reach for the wealthy investors and the experienced campaign team they're paying to gather the signatures and market the measure.
Still, the proposed amendment, with its limit on commercial growers, faces opposition from some of Ohio's longtime marijuana proponents. They're pushing alternate measures.
"Those people … have invested their lives and taken great risks to get us to where we are today," said Keith Stroup, an attorney with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "We would like the market to be open to small- and mid-sized growers, not just the big guys."
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