COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has rejected the fourth petition for a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would attempt to legalize marijuana for medical use in the state.
On March 8, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received a written petition to amend the Ohio Constitution, entitled “Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment,” from the group Ohio Medical Cannabis Care LLC, the fourth submission of such a titled amendment by this group. 1,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters were submitted. However, DeWine found at least 11 defects with the summary language:
- The summary language states that the amendment that “medical cannabis” can only be provided to individuals “with a qualified medical condition.” However, the proposed amendment does not limit qualifying medical patients to those with a qualified medical condition but more broadly to those “with a disease or pain from a disease.”
- The summary language states that there shall be no limit on the number of patients with a “qualified medical.” However, the proposed amendment states that there will be “no limit on patients with a medical condition as recommended by their doctor/practitioner for the use of medical cannabis.”
- The summary language fails to make clear, aside from a passing reference, that the proposed amendment creates a new state agency called the Ohio Department of Medical Cannabis.
- The summary language states that registration fees shall be paid to the Ohio Medical Cannabis Commission (OMCC) and “after that it will be paid to the Department of Medical Cannabis.” However, the proposed amendment states all fees shall be paid to the OMCC.
- The summary language states that two of the seven OMCC commissioners shall be appointed “by the first five (5) appointed Commissioners.. However, the proposed amendment does not contain that provision.
- The summary language appears to prohibit signage on testing facilities and dispensaries containing cannabis leaf or green cross. However, the proposed amendment instead limits signage to the use of a cannabis leaf or green cross.”
- The summary language fails to reference a provision in the proposed amendment that “dispensaries and CCC will be the only companies that will be allowed to have a sign on their outside building with a green cross or cannabis leaf, per local code.
- The summary language states that the OMCC”shall have the right to inspect all locations…at any time.” However, the proposed amendment limits inspections to “before issuing a registry card/registry certificate.”
- The summary language states that persons over the age of 21 must obtain a registration card or certificate from the OMCC in order to grow medical cannabis. However, the proposed amendment states that all patients over the age of 21 “possess the right to grow medical cannabis.”
- The summary language states that, among other entities, a “County or State Medical Assistance Program” cannot be required to “reimburse a patient for the cost…associated with the use of Medical Cannabis.” However, the proposed amendment does not include any reference to County Medical Assistance Programs.
- The summary language states “all agents or persons transporting usable cannabis or cannabis produces must have documentation and a registry card from the OMCC.” However, the proposed amendment does not include a requirement for a registry card in order to transport.
“For these reasons, I am unable to certify the summary as a fair and truthful statement of the proposed amendment,” DeWine stated in a letter to the petitioners. DeWine rejected submissions on July 29, 2015; Oct. 2, 2015; and Jan. 22, 2016, on similar grounds.