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GREAT NEWS!  The Ohio Supreme Court upheld a ballot issue in Bowling Green, Ohio that amended the city charter. This is good news for Ohio's local marijuana decriminalization efforts. Essentially, where a local city ordinance is not in conflict with State Law, the local ordinance overrides the State Law. Local boards of elections can no longer thwart the circulation and implementation of local ballot drives. Although the case decided by the court was unrelated to marijuana, its decision applies to the cannabis issue as well.

Please see this article from the Toledo Blade.

Five Citizen-led Ballot Initiatives to Decriminalize Marijuana appeared on the November 8, 2016 Ballot in the following Ohio Cities:

Four of the five won!

Endorsed by the Ohio Green Party and the Ohio Rights Group

Many cities, towns or villages in Ohio have an option called "home rule" that allows citizens to change local laws by ballot initiative. Using this provision, five Ohio cities had measures on their ballots in the fall election that decriminalized possession of marijuana

for amounts up to 200 grams.

A sensible, non-punitive approach toward marijuana saves millions of taxpayer dollars and allows police to utilize their time and resources on higher priority matters.

Bellaire in Belmont County - sponsored by Sensible Bellaire PAC

Byesville in Geurnsey County - sponsored by Sensible Byesville

Newark in Licking County - sponsored by Sensible Newark and Central Ohio NORML

Logan in Hocking County - sponsored by Sensible Logan

Roseville in Muskingum County - sponsored by Sensible Roseville

If you want more information or to volunteer, please email Bill Schmitt at

The ORG's Ballot Issue History

On January 6, 2010, an incubator for statewide ballot initiatives concerning medical cannabis was formed when articles of incorporation were filed with the Ohio Secretary of State under the name Medical Cannabis of Ohio (MedCann).

Since then, the Ohio Rights Group and its predecessor organization (the Ohio Medical Cannabis Association) have crafted four proposed statewide ballot initiatives, two with a regulatory model and two with a civil rights approach.

How to Put an Issue on the Statewide Ballot

There are three ways that citizens can put the issues that concern them up for a vote by the people.

1.) Referendum. Keeps a law passed by the General Assembly from going into effect until it is approved or rejected by voters. Signatures = 6% of last gubernatorial vote & 3% of that vote in 44 counties. 

2.) Constitutional Amendment. Amends the Ohio Constitution with provisions that take precedence over laws. Can be placed on the ballot by both citizens and the legislature. Citizen signatures:10% of last gubernatorial vote & 5% of that vote in 44 counties. 

Legislative vote (called joint resolution): three fifths of both houses. 

3.) Initiated Statute. Places a proposed law on ballot by citizens. Initial signatures:3% of last gubernatorial vote & 1.5% of that vote in 44 counties. 

Legislature must act in four months. If not:

Supplemental signatures: 3% of last gubernatorial vote & 1.5% of that vote in 44 counties.

Did you know?

75% of the provisions in the proposed 2016

OMM Amendment

were covered in

House Bill 523.

ORG's Signature Project

About the OCRA

The Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment (OCRA) is a citizen initiated amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would codify the rights of Ohio’s sick, dying and disabled to make medical, therapeutic and industrial use of the cannabis plant. Farmers would also have the right to grow and sell hemp. The OCRA would form an Ohio Commission of Cannabis Control to not only regulate cannabis in Ohio, but also uphold and defend the rights established in the amendment while acting in the public interest.

The OCRA was certified for statewide signature gathering in May 2013. Since then, roughly 150,000 Ohioans have signed petitions. More than 305,591 signatures must be submitted to the Ohio Secretary of State for ballot placement. Sufficient signatures have also been amassed to exceed the minimum 5% of registered voters in 30 of the required 44 Ohio counties.

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The OCRA's Closed Out Counties

Bill of Rights in the

Ohio Constitution


Article 1: Bill of Rights in the Ohio Constitution reads, all Ohioans are, “by nature, free and independent, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and seeking and obtaining happiness and safety.”

Other Ballot Issues Supported by the ORG


Ohioans for Medical Marijuana (OMM) was a proposed statewide ballot issue that would have added an amendment to the Ohio constitution concerning medical marijuana. The signature drive for the measure was suspended shortly after the May 2016 passage of House Bill 523 by the Ohio General Assembly.


Responsible Ohio (RO) was a proposed statewide ballot initiative that would have added an amendment to the Ohio constitution concerning both the adult and medical uses of marijuana. The measure made the fall 2015 ballot as Issue 3 but was defeated largely because of being branded in the public eye as a monopoly.

Other Ballot Issues Opposed by the ORG


Ohio Initiatied Monopolies Amendment (Issue 2) was a legislatively referred constitutional amendment that applied a test to determine if future ballot issues create a monopoly, determine a tax rate or confer a commercial interest, and if so, divide the measure into two parts on the ballot. The ORG felt that Issue 2 was too vague and thwarted the ballot initiative process to the detriment of we the people.

Prior ORG Medical Cannabis Ballot Initiatives

May 2011 - L-131-1132

This bill drafted to form by the Ohio Legislative Services Commission for the 2015-16 session of the General Assembly actually began as the very first ballot initiative language produced by the incubator under the moniker of the Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment. It laid out a very detailed plan for the production and distribution of medical  marijuana in Ohio.

September 2011 - Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment

An updated version of the Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment, with a detailed regulatory model, was submitted to the Ohio Attorney General for certification, but then rejected by his office.

January 2012 - Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment

With the rejection of the prior amendment largely because of its detail and length, this much shorter version used the novel approach of codifying selected rights and forming a commission solely pertaining to medical marijuana. Even though it was certified by the Ohio Attorney General, no signatures were ever collected for it.

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