COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- An issue to legalize medical marijuana in Ohio will have to wait another year. The group pushing the issue, The Ohio Rights Group, says they are well short of the required number of signatures to put the issue to a vote.
"We're not where we need to be in order to qualify for this year's ballot, but we're not conceding anything," said John Pardee, the group's president.
He says they have collected about 100,000 of the 385,000 signatures that are needed to move the issue forward. The target is now 2015.
Pardee says polls show that their proposal is gaining support and he believes it's just a matter of time before voters give it the thumbs up.
"24 states already have it. Ohio's going to be coming up soon and we hope to be a big part of it," he said.
If passed, the constitutional amendment would allow Ohioans over the age of 18 that have a debilitating medical condition and meet certain eligibility requirements to use, possess, acquire, and produce marijuana. Ohioans could also grow hemp for commercial use. It would also establish an Ohio Commission of Cannabis Control to regulate the therapeutic use.
Supporters say it has the potential to alleviate the suffering of over 100,000 Ohioans and provide Ohio with an estimated $50 million in tax revenue within five years of implementation. It could also create an Ohio industry and the jobs to go along with it estimated at $250 million annually within just two years of establishment.
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