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Five More Ohio Cities Decriminalize Cannabis Via Ballot Initiatives, Joining 20 Other Jurisdictions

Residents of five Ohio cities voted for and approved local cannabis decriminalization measures on Tuesday, joining 20 other jurisdictions that have already done the same. Cities that voted for the reform included Kent, Laurelville, Shawnee, Rushville, Corning and Hemlock, with the last being the only one to reject the initiative.

During Tuesday’s midterm elections five states were also deciding on adult-use legalization ballot initiatives – ArkansasMarylandMissouriNorth Dakota, and South Dakota, with two of them approving the measures and officially going green.

Two cannabis activists led Ohio’s cannabis reform efforts – NORML Appalachia of Ohio and the Sensible Movement Coalition.

“The results of yesterday’s general election show beyond a reasonable doubt that the people of Ohio are ready for a change in cannabis laws, even at the local level,” NORML’s Don Keeney told Marijuana Moment. “From the city of Kent to the small villages of Southeast Ohio, they want this! These are sold red areas with elected officials that say their people don’t support this. Yesterday’s vote shows something different.”

The 20 jurisdictions across Ohio that have already approved local statutes decriminalizing cannabis possessions did so either via voter initiatives or through their city councils.

Cannabis In Ohio

Cannabis legalization advocates are working on placing a statewide recreational legalization initiative on the ballot in 2023. Medical marijuana was legalized in 2016 and since then the Buckeye State’s legalization efforts have undergone a series of starts and stops.

State officials and cannabis legalization advocates struck a deal in May to allow the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CTRMLA) to retain the signatures they’d already collected to be used in 2023.

However, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) has been trying to make the process more difficult. LaRose won his re-election bid in Tuesday’s midterms.

According to The Plain Dealer, LaRose believes that the state’s Legislature should raise the bar to require a 60% supermajority for voters to green-light constitutional amendments.

“I think the signature threshold may be one thing to look at,” LaRose told PD reporters on Oct. 27 in an interview. “But another one might be it takes a supermajority vote in the Legislature to refer a question to the ballot; why not require a supermajority vote of the citizens in order to pass a constitutional amendment?”

Photo: Benzinga Edit; Sources: Matt Koffel  and CRYSTALWEED cannabis via Unsplash

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