COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Attorney General Mike DeWine said Friday he’s studying the plausibility of a tightly crafted medical marijuana proposal, as much broader initiatives head toward Ohio voters.
With the state debating whether to legalize marijuana, it’s logical to explore what the alternatives are, said DeWine, a Republican who opposes making recreational marijuana legal.
As long as assurances against abuse are in place, “I know there’s a lot of people who might be for medical marijuana,” DeWine said.
DeWine said it’s worth studying what is happening in other states when it comes to medical marijuana, something he’s ordered his office to explore.
He pointed to the experience in Colorado, where concerns have arisen about the interaction between that state’s recreational marijuana law and its medical marijuana law.
On Monday, Colorado’s governor signed into law a crackdown on medical marijuana, one of two measures designed to ferret out people improperly using and selling untaxed marijuana.
DeWine stopped short of saying his goal is to undercut the widespread legalization of the drug in Ohio or what form a proposal might take. “Stay tuned,” he said.
The Ohio Ballot Board has approved two legalization efforts making their way toward voters, with another in the works.
DeWine’s announcement is an important step, and shows he’d being more open-minded than in the past, but doesn’t go far enough, said Lydia Bolander, spokeswoman for ResponsibleOhio, one of the groups authorized to collect signatures to try to get a legalization issue on the ballot.
The group’s proposed amendment calls for adults 21 or over to be able to buy marijuana, and to grow up to four plants at home. It also proposes 10 authorized growing sites around the state. Marijuana purchased at licensed retail stores would be taxed.
“It’s not just enough to legalize marijuana for medical purposes,” Bolander said. “We know the far-ranging consequences of our current marijuana prohibition, and we know that it’s failed.”
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