In Ohio, legalization advocates still have a long way to go, but they are preparing for a battle next year. In the poll, Republican support for legalization was 40 percent, with 17 percent strongly in favor. Fifty-seven percent of GOP voters surveyed opposed the move, while 37 percent said they strongly opposed it. Black Ohio showed strong support for legalization at 69 percent, with white Ohioans at 57 percent. Unlike Ohio, several states had marijuana on the national ballot in last week`s election. Maryland and Missouri became the 20th and 21st states to legalize recreational marijuana, while Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota rejected legalization proposals. COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The legalization of marijuana will not be on the ballot for Ohio`s November election, under the terms of a deal reached Friday with state officials by a group that supports the effort. In Ohio, a grassroots initiative, the Coalition to Regulating Marijuana Like Alcohol, is currently campaigning for legalization. The group collected 140,000 signatures to put the measure on the ballot in November.

Recreational marijuana is already legal in 19 states, and legalization proposals are being voted on this fall in South Dakota, North Dakota, Arkansas, Missouri and Maryland. A live discussion with Jax James, NORML`s State Policy Manager, on the status of upcoming marijuana legalization initiatives in 2022 is available here. Medical marijuana has been legal in Ohio since January 2019, in part because of a preliminary 2016 election campaign that prompted lawmakers to act. A full legalization vote failed overwhelmingly in 2015. The measure, led by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana and Alcohol, aims to allow adults to possess, grow and purchase limited amounts of cannabis in the home. Earlier this year, the promoters collected enough signatures from registered voters to submit the marijuana legalization measure to lawmakers, but they refused to take action. In response, developers are expected to collect additional signatures to bring the issue to voters` attention in November. Ohio`s secretary of state countered that the petitioners missed the deadline to qualify for the 2022 vote. The coalition sued state officials earlier this month after Ohio House Republicans refused to take over the group`s proposed marijuana legalization bill under a state mechanism called the Initiated Statute, through which members of the public can propose new laws.

The House GOP said the group submitted its signatures too late to be considered during this year`s legislature. While 60 percent of Americans surveyed in a 2021 Pew Research poll support legalizing recreational marijuana — and more than 90 percent say medical or recreational cannabis should be legal — it doesn`t look like federal law will change anytime soon. The delay in legalization efforts could have implications for November`s gubernatorial election, the U.S. Senate and other state and local races. Had it been on the ballot, a marijuana legalization proposal would have had the potential to mobilize voters who support and oppose legalization, shape the types of voters who would show up at the polls, and influence the issues candidates would talk about. Under the terms of the agreement, the organization that supports marijuana legalization efforts in the state, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, will be allowed to keep more than 140,000 signatures it received to bring the issue to the state legislature if it delays its campaign until 2023. A Spectrum News/Siena College poll in September found that 60 percent of Ohio voters strongly or somewhat support marijuana legalization, with Democrats, Ohio blacks and voters under 50 most likely to overwhelmingly support it. This year, voters in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota will see marijuana legalization measures on the ballot as state laws or constitutional amendments. Several states — Vermont, New York, Connecticut, Illinois and New Mexico — have approved recreational marijuana through a legalization bill without requiring voter approval.

A majority of Democrats and independents support legalizing recreational pot, with 79 percent and 61 percent, respectively. Elsewhere in the polls, a majority of independents often leaned toward Republicans, but were clearly in favor of legalization on this issue. So if lawmakers don`t respond to the marijuana legalization measure by April 2023, it will be on the November 2023 ballot as long as the group can collect the second round of signatures it needs, a number that increases turnout in the state`s final gubernatorial election. Instead, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana and Alcohol said it would postpone its legalization campaign until 2023. In return, state officials agreed to accept the more than 140,000 signatures the coalition has already collected, rather than let them do it again. Under Ohio law, if citizens can muster 132,887 registered voters in at least 44 counties, Ohio lawmakers could be forced to consider a proposal to change Ohio`s existing law through the public through so-called insider legislation, according to Cleveland.com. Proponents of Missouri`s nomination point to a provision that would erase previous marijuana-related convictions for nonviolent offenders and those whose convictions did not include selling to minors or driving while on drugs. State officials and a group supporting efforts to legalize marijuana in Ohio reached an agreement Thursday, agreeing that the organization be allowed to keep signatures it has already collected for the effort and postpone its campaign until 2023. “Anyone who thinks it`s obvious doesn`t understand Ohio and doesn`t understand the challenges of implementing this,” Berman said. Maharath said that if Ohio joined the other 19 states in legalizing recreational marijuana, it would likely come from the people.

Last week, Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that seasonal interagency efforts to eradicate illegal weed will become year-round efforts. That proposal could end up on the state ballot in November`s election if those behind the campaign received the same number of signatures and if lawmakers who were forced to take the action don`t sign the statue into law within four months, a-t-Cleveland.com reported. Proceeds would be taxed at 10%, with proceeds used for administrative costs, addiction treatment programs, communities with pharmacies, and a social justice and employment program. They didn`t, and GOP lawmakers argued that the group missed deadlines for last week`s vote. The lawyers filed a lawsuit accusing Republicans of circumventing the process, but they eventually agreed to a settlement to postpone the trial until 2023. Ohioans ages 35 to 49 showed the greatest interest in legalizing recreational marijuana, with 81 percent support, followed by Ohioans ages 18 to 34 with 76 percent. “If (Biden) were to change that federal classification, then obviously the penalties that would come with possession of certain amounts would also be changed,” Riley-Topping said. “We may see sooner than in a few years that they are working on it now and that it can be done through administrative measures.” Under the rules of the initiated settlement, the public can force lawmakers to pass a proposed amendment to the law if they can collect the required number of signatures — currently 132,887 — from registered voters in at least 44 counties in the state. If lawmakers don`t sign the law into law within four months, supporters of a bill can collect the same number of signatures again to force it onto the ballot for the following November election. An Oklahoma group managed to get the necessary signatures for a referendum, but the Oklahoma Supreme Court ultimately ruled that there was not enough time to put the question on the ballot in November.

The vote will likely be postponed until 2024, unless the governor or legislature calls a special election. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has said he does not support legalizing recreational marijuana. Decriminalization in Ohio has been city-to-city, with 30 cities having a decriminalization order. Three million Ohioans are protected by the ordinance — and Cleveland is the only city that offers automatic removal with its decriminalization legislation. “We invite the legislature to work with us on this proposal, but if they refuse, we are prepared to present it to Ohio voters,” said Tom Haren, a lawyer and spokesman for the coalition. Get the best experience and stay connected with your community with our Spectrum News app.