COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A settlement between a coalition and state officials means voters won’t get to choose whether to legalize marijuana in Ohio in 2022 but could at a later date.
The agreement was formed Friday between the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, House Speaker Bob Cupp and Senate President Matt Huffman after the coalition sued them. Two lawmakers in April tried to introduce the coalition’s ballot initiative to create a 2022 statewide vote to legalize marijuana, but this was met by conflicting interpretations on whether the coalition handled it properly according to the Ohio Constitution.
The settlement means that the coalition’s petition to add marijuana legalization to ballots will instead go up for review in 2023. LaRose will send the petition before the state legislature on Jan. 3, which will start a four-month period for lawmakers to consider the proposal.
“We are delighted to have reached this settlement, which has preserved our initial signatures, provided the General Assembly with a second opportunity to consider the proposed statute, and established a clear path to ballot access in 2023,” said Tom Haren, one of the coalition’s petitioners.
The settlement also means that the 136,729 signatures the coalition gathered will be included when the proposal goes before the Ohio General Assembly. If lawmakers don’t take action on the petition by May 3, 2023, the coalition will begin collecting more signatures for a new petition for the November 2023 ballot.