Language for the constitutional amendment, planned for the November ballot, has not yet been drafted, the president of the national nonprofit said in questions and answers posted on Facebook and sent to cleveland.com Tuesday night. The language will be based off laws in the 23 states where medical marijuana is legal.
These are the basics, according to organization’s President Rob Kampia.
What would the amendment do?
The amendment will establish a system where patients with certain medical conditions can apply for a medical marijuana ID card that allows them to buy and possess marijuana. The state would license businesses to grow, process, test, distribute and sell medical marijuana, and sales tax would be applied. License fees and tax revenues would pay for the program’s administrative costs.
Kampia said patients and their caregivers could grow their own marijuana as soon as the amendment becomes law.
And there will not be a monopoly, a sticking point with the recreational marijuana amendment last year.
“The retail price in Ohio will inevitably be slightly lower than in other states, because the Ohio initiative won’t impose large taxes or bureaucratic hurdles that would translate into higher prices,” Kampia wrote. “Also, the Ohio initiative will embrace a healthy, free-market approach to the production of medical marijuana, which will drive down the cost as compared to, say, an oligopoly or a government-run monopoly.”
Kampia said there will likely be two types of cultivation licenses: one costing “thousands of dollars” and another, larger “expensive license.”
Who is leading the Ohio effort?
Marijuana Policy Project registered an Ohio political action committee called Ohioans for Medical Marijuana last month. The organization chose Ohioans Michael Revercomb, Lissa Satori, and John Pardee to lead the campaign.
Revercomb served on the board of the central Ohio chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
Pardee was the president of Ohio Rights Group, an organization that has been collecting signatures for a medical-only constitutional amendment since 2013.
Sartori was an Ohio Rights Group leader who worked on last year’s Issue 3 legalization campaign.
Kampia said Ohio has the “highest per-capita level of infighting” among marijuana activists and said there are “no hard feelings” for people who don’t want to work with the leaders.
“This campaign needs to be a team effort, and we’re hoping that Ohio can surprise the nation by showing that people can, in fact, work together successfully to promote a common cause,” Kampia said.
Strategic Public Partners, a Columbus-based Republican consulting firm, is no longer working on the campaign. The firm’s president, Brandon Lynaugh, declined to discuss the decision.
What’s the timeline?
Amendment language is expected in early March, and the campaign expects to begin collecting signatures of registered voters on April 2.
Supporters need 305,591 valid signatures by July 6 to qualify for the November ballot. The campaign wants volunteers to collect between 100 and 1,000 signatures each during that time and will also pay signature collectors.