By Ann Sanner, Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Ballot Board approved language Tuesday for a fall ballot issue that seeks to legalize marijuana and another aimed at extinguishing that plan, and supporters of the pot proposal threatened a court challenge.
ResponsibleOhio, the group that brought the marijuana legalization question before voters, said the ballot wording for its proposal is misleading and biased against the issue. Among other concerns, the group’s attorney objected to the use of “recreational” in the description. But opponents of the plan contend the phrasing is fair.
Passage of the proposed constitutional amendment Nov. 3 would make Ohio a rare state to go from entirely outlawing marijuana to allowing it for all uses in a single vote.
Under the proposal, adults 21 and older could purchase marijuana for medicinal or other use and grow four plants for personal use. It creates a network of 10 authorized growing locations around the state, some that have already attracted private investors, and lays out a regulatory and taxation scheme for cannabis.
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Don McTigue, an attorney for ResponsibleOhio, opposed the board-approved language that described the legalization proposal as permitting the sale of “recreational” marijuana. He argued that the word “recreational” was not in the proposed amendment, while the phrase “personal use” was. He suggested “recreational” was chosen based on unfavorable polling.
“We don’t say recreational smoking of cigarettes,” McTigue told the board.
He also took issue with a description of where marijuana facilities would be permitted and how much marijuana people could purchase.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde of Kent joined her other Democratic colleague in voting against the ballot wording, saying it was neither accurate nor impartial. Clyde said use of the word recreational “crosses into editorializing about the amendment.”
Secretary of State Jon Husted, the board’s Republican chairman, said “recreational” helps to distinguish between marijuana used for medicinal purposes.
“This is the common term used,” he said.
Jennifer Redman, a ResponsibleOhio spokeswoman, said she believed flaws in the wording were meant to scare voters and the group would challenge the language in the Ohio Supreme Court.
Source: The Cannabist