US (OH): Senate leader rejects adult-use cannabis petition

Ohio state Senate President Matt Huffman said that he will not act on a petition to legalize adult-use cannabis and dared reform activists advancing the proposal to take the issue to voters in a statewide election. Huffman, one of the most powerful Republican lawmakers in Ohio and the leader of the GOP-controlled state Senate, told reporters that he would not bring the adult-use cannabis legalization proposal sponsored by the group the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol up for a vote.

“I don’t want anybody to misunderstand my position,” Huffman said, as quoted by the Columbus Dispatch. “I’m not going to bring it to the Senate floor. And if that means people want to go put it on the ballot, have at it.”

Last month, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced that the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol had submitted petitions with about 136,000 verified signatures from registered voters, more than enough to send the legalization proposal to lawmakers for consideration. Under Ohio law, the state legislature was then given four months to adopt the measure as it is written or pass an amended version. 

If lawmakers fail to do so, the campaign can collect another 132,887 signatures to bring the proposal to voters via a ballot measure for this year’s general election. Tom Haren, a spokesman for the campaign, called on state lawmakers to approve the recreational marijuana legalization bid after LaRose announced on January 28 that the group had collected enough signatures to send the proposal to the legislature.

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