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Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative Is Experiencing Low Signature Validity Rate, May Not Qualify For Ballot


ohio signThe ResponsibleOhio marijuana legalization campaign turned in a total of 695,273 signatures earlier this year in an attempt to get their initiative on the 2015 ballot. That’s more than twice as many as the 305,591 valid signatures required. That means that the signature gathering effort needs to have a 43.95+ signature validity rate to hit their goal. In some areas that goal is being exceeded. However, in other areas, the signature validity rate is falling short. Per USA Today:

Ohio’s secretary of state is expected to announce as early as Monday whether ResponsibleOhio gathered enough valid signatures of registered Ohio voters to get the measure before voters in 2015. ResponsibleOhio needs 305,591 signatures to qualify. On June 30, the group turned in 695,273 signatures with the goal of ensuring it would have the right number, 50%, to qualify.

In four southwest Ohio counties, final counts show the petition campaign had a majority of valid signatures only in Warren County, at 53%. Hamilton County had a 33.74% validity rate. Butler and Clermont counties came in at 41%.

If the Ohio campaign falls short of the signature requirement, they will still have one last chance to gather the remaining signatures. Ohio allows campaigns one 10 day window to gather signatures after the determination is made that more signatures are required. I am fairly certain that between the high amount of initial signatures turned in, the additional ten day window, and the enormous amount of resources at the disposal of the campaign, that the initiative will make the ballot. But stranger things have happened in politics. Will Ohio voters approve it? That is completely uncertain at this time. If it does make the ballot it will be joined by another measure that would prevent the initiative, and others that create for-profit-monopolies, from being allowed in Ohio.


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Johnny Green


  1. PhDScientist on

    The white house comment line is (202) 456-1111.
    They’re open from 9-5 east coast time

  2. It’s not a business deal. It’s a scam to get the voters to give them the entire growing market in the state while preventing others for entering and competing in the market. That was the entire reason they did not include homegrows in their initial proposal because they sat there thinking with greed that the only way the public would get legal cannabis was through the retail stores that are only allowed to sell product grown by their 10. That is why the public backlashed and RO had NO CHOICE but to cave and put a homegrow option in there.

    But to my original point, RO isn’t acting like Robin Hood in this scenario. They are money hungry greedy bastards and they are not doing this in the name of legalization because its the right and moral thing to do. They are doing it because of PROFIT. Had they approached this with a true sense of fairness to all and not just not fairness to them and their 10 selected growers, perhaps they would get all of the justified criticism they are getting.

  3. You say, “that would have been true had they just pushed for legalized homegrows or allowing an open market to supply the retail stores.”
    To which I ask, what investor ever, anywhere, is going to put up potentially $340 million – or even one million – so that SOMEBODY ELSE can make a profit?
    This is a business deal – nothing more, nothing less.
    You can certainly reject the deal if it offends your idealistic sensibilities, but it’s important to realize that your conscience may keep you from getting what you actually want, which is legalization.
    So, yes, I am saying the ends justify the means, and anyone who is even slightly pragmatic will realize the truth of that.

  4. Chris Humphrey on

    I’m one for the vote for RO. They don’t want a monopoly. It’s starts with 10 companies. If the demand isn’t satisfied that number will increase. I’m liberal capitalist. I don’t have the money to invest in cannabis at this time. If I did there are other areas that I could make money within cannabis ecosystem. I don’t and would like to be able to purchase/grow good cannabis that’s never available.

    My argument for legalization is that people already use it. Yes SOME people are setting on the sidelines that haven’t used it, but most know what it does and like it. We buy it illegally and with no idea what we are getting. Millionaires and politicians use it. It gives everyone a way to purchase it or grow it without a fuss. The government knows this is good for the people but don’t want to lose the control they feel they have..

  5. the commission has the authority to decide if 10 grow sites is enough or if ohio needs more or less… if they decide to increase the # of growers the licences will be open to anyone if you got the $$$ … the idea that the 10 grow groups got something for free is just silly… they each put in 2 million each to get 1 of the 1st 10 licences…. i doubt the commission will charge anything close to a million for the next set of licences …

    its obvious that most who replied also never read amendment but feel content to spread opinion about something you dont know anything about… facts first opinions second but only if your educated in the topic at hand…

    any1 willing to wait next year or whenever something better shows up is missing the pount… we can save people asap with RO… next year we still might not get medical cannabis… how many will die be4 the right one comes around … i will not stand idle while people suffer and die… will you?

  6. I don’t understand the assumption that people against RO are prohibs or illegal growers protecting their turf. Or the opposite assumption that people in favor of RO are shills for RO. Why can’t the debate be on the issues without making assumptions about people’s motives, and without the gratuitous insults?

  7. It’s too late for this year. Maybe RO would consider something like that if they lose this year. But RO is apparently only doing this for the money and a 2 years monopoly probably isn’t enough to interest them in spending the kind of money another campaign would take.

  8. OTEP, an alternative to RO has 3 1/2 months left before people have to vote on RO. If they can’t show good progress towards getting on the ballot in 2016 by then, why think they’ll do any better next year? The contrast between the MILegalize group trying to legalize in Michigan in 2016 and OTEP seems pretty large. The people in Michigan seem to be far more connected and active.

    And 2018 is problematic because turnout of younger people is so much less in ‘off-year’ elections.
    You could easily be looking at 2020 before another chance to vote on legalizing weed and ensuring that medicinal marijuana patients in Ohio have a legal place to go to buy quality controlled weed That’s 4 years of suffering and death that will be avoided if RO passes. That’s one big reason to vote for this stinking cartel right there.

  9. Enabling people to access MEDICINAL marijuana is a lot more than a tad better than the current situation. They need medicine now, they can’t wait for a better deal that has no timetable for when it will arrive. And the limited right to grow in RO isn’t that bad, 4 mature plants + small plants + 8 ounces of stash. Washington State doesn’t even allow any right to grow your own

    Vote for the stinking cartel. It’s important. (To paraphrase a Louisiana campaign slogan from the 90’s when the choice in a runoff for governor was between.a convicted embezzler and the racist David Duke.

  10. Why can’t we figure this out?? So why is it so difficult to introduce a compromise? Let the 10 have
    their little monopoly, but set a time limit on it…say 2 years?? After
    that cultivation licenses open up to any Ohio resident. Then after
    another 5 years passes licenses open to anyone, even non-Ohio residents
    from other states..

  11. RO and their idea of allowing only select and unknown companies to grow seems pretty shady to me. I don’t think I would be that eager to jump on the bandwagon and vote for this particular idea. Legalization will happen eventually regardless, I believe better options will come soon. Good things come to those who wait :)

  12. And this is the problem with your kind. You automatic dismiss and make assumptions just because someone will not bow down and kiss your ass because we don’t support the same initiative you do. You do realize that every single other has a right to vote their conscious, right? And just because we do not support this initiative because of the issues that have been debated ad nauseous does not mean we don’t support the cause.

    You may not like it but it is how democracy actually works. And the same people you demean and put down are the same people you are trying to convince to vote for your preference. Sorry, Charlie, that shit don’t work. It’s no different than every time someone posts shit about Republicans and everyone piles on. They aren’t ever going to come to your side when you make ridiculous assumptions.

    I support legalization nationwide but for the things that are important to me. I called out RO when they launched and said any bill without homegrow would not fly in Ohio and what happened? The public backlash was so crazy they had to change it. But sorry, they are trying to buy the market by limiting it to their 10 grows and are trying to do it using a Constitutional amendment. They aren’t fucking Robin Hood and doing this out of the good of their heart. Nope, that would have been true had they just pushed for legalized homegrows or allowing an open market to supply the retail stores.

    I support legalization but I don’t support RO and I certainly don’t support you.

  13. It happens with every single voter initiative. It’s not exclusive to this measure. You’re delusional if you think it happens in other initiatives but not this one. And I did notify the election boards in the past of misconduct and those I reported were friends of mine. Having character doesn’t mean you only have when it benefits you.

  14. “I know plenty of signature gatherers that fill out fake forms or get people to fill out forms even when they know the persons signature will not count.”
    I think the Board of Elections might want a list of names.
    Will you provide it, or will you abet those criminals?

  15. “And I don’t give a fuck who finances the next effort” Then you don’t care if legalization ever come to Ohio.
    Nice. Thanks for your support.

  16. Sorry, but you don’t get decide what you find acceptable for the entire state and its citizens. That is why we have elections so that each voter can be represented based on the actual merits of the proposed measure.

    Now think about this for a moment. If RO is having such a hard time acquiring the number of signatures needed, what are you going to do if the voters come out in November and vote against it? And even if those greater than 50% of signatures which did not validate voted, that number is still lower than the average turn out in Ohio for elections. It’s not quite the slam dunk it is presented as.

    You refer to the Feds changing its schedule status but I wouldn’t hold my breath and sorry, I am not voting for a shit initiative with the hopes that one day the Feds will change the schedule so I can buy across state lines.

  17. Try again, sunshine. You received no email from me and I find it comical that you are trying to play it that way. And this “boy” would give your old ass a fucking heart attack. And be honest, you know why you want kids in your basement and it’s not to raise them, PedoBear.

  18. Neither of us can say for certainty whether those signatures were fraudulent or not. And I could care less what you think of me but RO got what it deserved because they were shady as fuck from the start. The fact that they continue to keep these 10 companies/growers secret is enough of a red flag.

    And again, I don’t see how calling out a shady organization for potential fraudulent signatures in any ways provides any appearance that I condone voter fraud because I was in fact pointing out the possibility of fraudulent signatures. But I guess your view is “by hook or by crook” as long as you get your way, right Johnny? You do realize that greater than 50% of their signatures did not qualify and I can damn near guarantee it wasn’t solely because not being registered or incorrect addresses. I know plenty of signature gatherers that fill out fake forms or get people to fill out forms even when they know the persons signature will not count. Why? Because many of them get paid per signature they collect.

    And I don’t give a fuck who finances the next effort. But you can rest assure if the next group acts secretive and tries to get the voters to give them a cornered market through a constitutional mandate it will fail the same.

  19. ANYONE WILLING TO VOTE NO AND ALLOWS MILLIONS OF INNOCENT CANCER PAITENTS TO SUFFER AND DIE SHOULD BE CAGED AN KEY DESTROYED! how can people be willing to play “GOD” an let innocent people… elders and children suffer… ya government ” solution ” is chemo and/or radiation… TOTAL BS! more die from treatment then from cancer!!! open your eyes people… this is about helping those in need but capitalists worry, ” ohh they cornered maket an stand to make $$$ ” well the federal government can change the controlled substance act regarding cannabis an if rescheduled to 3 or more it will lift state boundaries that cannabis currently cant cross… so 10 grow sites limited by government law regarding borders being remove will make it open for ohioans to get cannabis elsewhere … alot of BS about cartels, monopolies ,an oilop… whatever …. government already made those illegal so this idea is totally bogus… plus clearly you never read the amendment … below you will see the 10 grow sites have no authority of decisions made… also i copied from RO amendment how even original 10 can be revoked by the commission … 2 million down the drain if they dont play ball…

    1. Establishing the Ohio Marijuana Control Commission (“Commission”) to regulate the acquisition, growth, cultivation, extraction, production, processing, manufacture, testing, distribution, retail sales, licensing, and taxation of medical marijuana, marijuana and marijuana-infused products and the operations of marijuana establishments, and the growth and cultivation of homegrown marijuana, as defined in the Amendment. The Commission would be composed of seven members appointed by the governor with varying backgrounds and qualifications and for terms as set forth in the Amendment. All are required to be Ohio residents. The Amendment sets forth specific subject matter for regulations to be promulgated by the Commission and requires the Commission to establish a system for real-time tracking of all medical marijuana, marijuana and marijuana-infused products from initial germination and/or extraction through the final consumer transaction. The Commission would also serve as a clearing house for scientific and medical research on medical marijuana, marijuana and marijuana-infused products. The Commission would be required to employ necessary and qualified persons, including enforcement agents, and retain services of qualified third parties, including experts, to perform its duties.

    22. Requiring the Commission beginning in the second year following adoption of the Amendment to annually audit each marijuana establishment to certify that each establishment is in compliance with applicable rules and regulations, and if it determines that there is material non-compliance, authorizing the Commission to order remedial action and suspend or revoke the facility’s license for failure to comply with such order within a reasonable time. Marijuana establishments may have their licenses renewed annually unless the Commission determines that a licensee has repeatedly failed to comply with the Commission’s remedial orders. Ohio’s administrative procedure statutes generally applicable to other licensing bodies would apply to the extent not in conflict with the Amendment. The Commission shall set forth by rule civil penalties for failure to comply with Commission regulations, including enhanced penalties for repeat violations.

  20. PhDScientist on

    Has everyone made their daily call to the white house comment line? :-)
    If you haven’t don’t complain about Marijuana being illegal in 27 states.
    In the immortal words of Teddy Roosevelt — “Get into action”
    Do it for America’s Cancer patients.
    If you’re an American man, you’ve got a 1 out of 2 chance of becoming one.

  21. PhDScientist on

    We need action taken at the federal level. Doing things state by state is too slow.

  22. PhDScientist on

    We need action taken at the federal level.
    If you get Cancer, you’re going to want to be able to use Medical Marijuana — regardless of where you live.
    Call the white house comment line and email the President and ask them to take Marijuana off of Schedule 1.
    Don’t wait until you or someone you love gets Cancer to call.
    By then it will be too late.

  23. The invalidity of signatures is not necessarily evidence of fraud, and you can bet your bottom dollar that if SoS Husted has any inkling that fraud is involved, he will call for a full in-depth investigation, so cast your shade elsewhere.
    As stated in the press release, the majority of invalid signatures were due to signers either not being registered to vote, or more commonly, that their address of record does not match their current address.

    As far as “in your favor” goes, well, you are against RO, right? So this defeat definitely qualifies as in your favor. The fact that you implicitly condone voter fraud (“RO got exactly what they deserved”) to get there should cause you to hang your head in shame.

    Tell me, who is going to finance the next effort?

  24. Scott Dahlstrom on

    Given RO’s track record on signature-gathering rates, I think 10 days will be enough time to make it up.

  25. It would appear the fraud here is RO as more than half of the signatures they collected were invalid were they not?

    And I fail to see how this is in my favor other than not being forced to vote on a shit initiative that gives 10 companies the right to grow and make money while stamping out the competition. A bad deal is a bad deal even if the bad deal is a tad better than a worse deal.

  26. So, you’re of the opinion that election fraud is OK, as long as it works in your favor?

  27. RO got exactly what they deserved. They played the game and tried to stack the deck in its favor instead of trying to bring a fair and open legalization effort. There is a reason the entire MJ community is not embracing their attempt to monopolize the market. They thought because they had millions that they could make the rules that benefits only them. It was a dangerous gamble. They lost.

  28. Well, it’s official: 29,509 signatures are still needed. Those signatures must be new ones, and duplicates will be invalid

  29. Paul McClancy on

    At this rate Ohio will have a regulated market by 2035. Why do some advocates think legalization is inevitable when a large amount of people still buy into the Reefer Madness garbage? Doing away a near century’s worth of propaganda and shoddy science will take much longer, IMO.

  30. When I was volunteering to collect signatures for ORG, I was told that a single bad signature on a sheet of signatures could cause that entire sheet to be thrown out. I have no idea if that’s true, or if it was a cautionary tale told to get signature gatherers to be especially careful.
    If it is true, then I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what is behind such a low validity rate.
    Also, if it is true, I expect such a methodology will be challenged in court, as the lawyers at RO have already stated that they intend to file suit against the BOE.

  31. im 57 my kids are grown. i am a chemist and yes in a real lab not some clandistne operation doing illegal crap. now how do you defend prohibitionist stand. I EXPOSED YOUR TRUE COLORS. Im not going to lower myself to your standards. see you by the way donald trump may need your help. it appears you will fit in real well. good bye.

  32. now we see your true colors. i see you did not make public a lot of racist comments you wrote in your email reply and my boy i am lot older than you. i have already raised my family. maybe you need to send me your kids too. ill gladly raise them in my basement. maybe that way they become responsible citizens something that seems thay dont get from you.

  33. To all those celebrating this news, I ask; who will step up to fund OTEP for next year, if this effort fails this year?
    I’m sure there are plenty of altruistic millionaires out there prepared to put up their money after seeing RO essentially flush $4-5 million down the drain on this unsuccessful effort.

    Well, naysayers, looks as if you will get what you would otherwise have voted for; continued prohibition.

    Special thanks goes out to Kyle and his friends who admitted to deliberately sabotaging petitions with fake signatures.

  34. They did not need to gather signatures to place a measure on the ballot for the people to vote on. A simple Civics course would serve you well since you obviously have ZERO idea how politics and lawmaking actually work.

  35. Funny how everyone disagrees with you gets called a prohibitionist not to mention useless name calling. I am confident your loud mouth would not repeat a single name or stupid shit you say to any of one us if we ever met in public. Enjoy living in your parents’ basement and getting ready to get a real job. Your dream is about to be grinded up and put in a pipe.

  36. You are such a moron and obviously one that does not understand how initiatives can be placed on the ballot. It can be accomplished by being placed on the ballot for voters by legislature or a measure can be brought forth by the people. You should consider yourself lucky that the legislature gave the people the right to vote on it rather than just passing some law and forcing the people to be stuck with whatever the legislature decides.

    You have criticized every person in the comments that have pointed out just how shitty and shady RO is and has been. Sorry your little dream of owning a retail shop is about to go up in smoke… (PUN INTENDED). With your obvious lack of education, you will be forced to get a real job but I am sure you will jump on the bandwagon and start screaming for $15/hr minimum wages.

    As for my intelligence… three Master degrees would certainly disprove your opinion. Furthermore, thankfully assholes like yourself do not get to decide what or who this country needs despite your obvious attempts to get Paco and other border jumpers on the voter rolls.

    Now would you like fries with that, moron?

  37. yes you are a prohibitionist. you have not stopped to question for one moment why the antimonopoly bill did not need signatures to be on the ballot. i just do not believe there will be either this or another organization to gather enough signtures. but it looks like you get what you want all out prohibition. i just hope your stupidy does not spill over to other states. if you not a prohibitionist then you are not very smart and the movements in this country does not need you.

  38. I’m from Ohio but live in Washington now. I’m all for legalization but RO’s proposal is terrible. I think I’d vote no and wait for next year

  39. I agree – Ohio can do better than the monopolistic investor model. It is understandable that some see a group with a lot of resources and the ability to get something done – without much concern with the details- and just want users to stop getting arrested.

    This is commendable, but not concurrent with the ever evolving consciousness of the average citizen- who could support and/or tolerate more sensible approaches. The tier model or alcohol system is inefficient, unnecessarily drives up cost, keeps mAny criminal penalties in place and only allows a relative few to realize most of the revenue generation available. This is an emerging industry- there is no reason to institute an unfair antiquated system- take another year to get it right.

  40. Far from a prohibitionist. RO has been shady from the start. They tried to monopolize the market in Ohio initially by only offering voters the chance to legalize for their 10 investors. It wasn’t until the public told them to fuck off that they came back with the homegrow option. Add to the fact that they still have not revealed who these 10 growers/companies are. How are voters supposed to know they aren’t giving cartels the market?

    As bad as voters want legalized cannabis in Ohio, they will not accept an initiative from an organization that cannot be honest and upfront. If anything, RO hurts the cause and it plays into the stereotypical organized crime/mafia/cartels type shit.

    The fact that RO has collected 600K+ plus signatures but cannot even validate half of the signatures collected sets off red flags. Add to it the latest news of of the raid of one of its investors and all of the signs are there that it may be better to wait for something better rather than hand over the commercialization to ten companies while preventing competition outside of those ten.

    Aren’t you the guy who planned to open a retail shop with your friend or do I have you mixed up with another asshat here?

  41. Did require signature gathering for anti monopoly bill to make the ballot! Prohibitionist at dirty schemes!

  42. You have never tried cannabis in truth you are a prohibitionist. It would have mot matter what organization or method of growth or distribution was used you were never going to vote for it! Your avatar shows you are a mamas boy.

  43. When? Because I do not see any efforts that are organized enough to collect that kind of valid signatures. 2016? keep dreaming. Ships of fools have landed everywhere but more so in Ohio. Ohio will never have legal cannabis and hopefully do not damage the efforts in other states to do so. Karma my ass you are a prohibitionist!

  44. Karma has come calling for this shady organization. About damn time. Ohio will legalize but ResponsibleOhio will not and should not be the one to bring it to the people.

  45. Ben Morrison on

    Personally, I am not surprised by the issue of signature validity. Most people just don’t pay enough attention to their voter registration and keeping it up to date. However, I hope they do NOT make the ballot. An oligopoly is a terrible idea and with Ohio being a lynchpin state for national policy, it would be terrible precedence. I DO however think that the anti-monopoly/oligopoly measure will pass, if just because ohioans realize how terrible the casino system turned out. Either way, they have a tough time.

  46. J C Uncapher on

    right now I trust the people who are doing the counts about as much as I trust the legislators of Ohio after the shit they’ve pulled recently… they’re all a bunch of criminals and the biggest one of all is John Kasich

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