In its first month of gathering signatures on petitions, ResponsibleOhio–the group hoping to legalize marijuana–says it has collected about 250,000 signatures.
They need to gather just over 300,000 valid signatures by July 1.
Lydia Bolander, a spokeswoman for ResponsibleOhio says the legalization of marijuana is a hot topic and will likely drive voter turnout in November.
“We think that positive momentum is reflected in the speed with which we’ve been able to gather 250,000 signatures,” Bolander said. “That’s a significant number of people and we think that’s reflective of the public support on this issue.”
A recent Quinnipiac Poll found a large majority of Ohioans favor legalized medical marijuana, but a very slim majority favors legalizing recreational marijuana.
The ResponsibleOhio campaign will be well-funded with some estimates for campaign spending as high as $20-$25 million.
Marcie Seidel, executive director of Drug Free Action Alliance, says there will be some organized opposition–but it’s not likely to be funded at the same level as the proponent campaign.
“We have a shot at it because there’s nothing about this that’s good – nothing,” Seidel said.
The constitutional amendment proposed by ResponsibleOhio would create a marijuana industry largely controlled by the group’s investors who, would operate 10 growing locations.
The group estimates the annual tax revenue from the marijuana industry would be more than $500 million within 4 years.
Seidel says the key will be to educate voters. “When I go out and talk to individuals who are kind of on the fence and tell them what that looks like for Ohio, they go ‘wait a minute, that’s not what we want for Ohio,'” he said.