It’s make-or-break day for ResponsibleOhio which must come up with at least 29,509 valid signatures of registered Ohio voters if its for-profit marijuana legalization issue is to make the fall ballot.
ResponsibleOhio, the group backing the constitutional amendment, has until 11:59 p.m. today to submit additional signatures to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office. Husted spokesman Josh Eck said staff will remain after business hours, if necessary, to accept the supplemental filing.
The key number of signatures to watch for is 75,000. That’s roughly how many ResponsibleOhio’s must submit to have enough, given the group’s validation rate of 39.7 percent on the first round of signatures submitted July 20. If the group turns in 75,000 names, and the validation rate remains the same, it would produce roughly 29,775 valid signatures – just enough to make up the shortfall.
ResponsibleOhio needs a minimum of 305,591 signatures to qualify the proposed constitutional amendment for the Nov. 3 ballot.
Husted's tally from boards of elections on July showed 276,082 valid signatures statewide, or 39.7 percent of the 695,273 signatures from 72 counties submitted on June 30. State law permits a 10-day “cure period” for groups which fall short to gather additional signatures.
A dispute erupted between Husted’s office and ResponsibleOhio over the number of signatures submitted and tallied. ResponsibleOhio said it will take the matter to the Ohio Supreme Court and Husted responded Wednesday by appointing a special investigator to look into “discrepancies.”
The amendment would ask Ohioans to approve legal sale of marijuana for personal and medicinal consumption to those 21 and over. The vast majority of pot would be grown at 10 sites around the state, including three in central Ohio, owned by wealthy ResponsibleOhio investors. The public would be able to grow small amounts of marijuana at home.
Commercial and medical marijuana sales would be taxed at all levels, with money being funneled primarily to local governments.