COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohioans hoping to vote to legalize recreational marijuana this year will likely have to wait a little longer, perhaps as long as two years.
Cincinnati businessman Jimmy Gould told reporters at a news conference on Friday that the language for his proposed measure hasn’t been set yet and that the measure might not appear on the ballot until 2019 or 2020. The deadline to qualify for the November ballot is July 4.
Gould, who co-founded Ohio’s failed 2015 legalization effort, had pledged to put another measure on the ballot this year after his company wasn’t chosen to grow medical marijuana in the state’s new program. Gould, along with business partner Ian James, announced in November they would propose a “free market” system that didn’t establish a monopoly for wealthy investors.
But Gould and other backers are running out of time to submit proposed amendment language to the attorney general and to collect the required 305,591 valid signatures of registered Ohio voters. In 2015, language was submitted in early March and supporters initially didn’t collect enough signatures by July to qualify. (They were allowed to collect additional signatures to make up the difference and later qualified.)
Gould said polling is being conducted on the issue and possible ballot language while he pursues appeals of the state’s medical marijuana grower licensing process.
“If we do a constitutional amendment, and it is likely that we will, it may not be on the same date we talked about because we might need the opportunity to follow through this path while we do that,” Gould said.
Gould said they will start the ballot-measure process this year and could be on the ballot in 2018, 2019 or 2020.
“We’re the only people who have gotten it on the ballot before,” Gould said. “If