WHAT IS THE NAME OF THIS CAMPAIGN?
WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE AMENDMENT?
The Marijuana Rights and Regulations Amendment
WHERE CAN I READ THE AMENDMENT?
You can read the full text of the amendment here. here.
WHO IS BEHIND THIS INITIATIVE?
Grassroots Ohioans supports Ohio Families for Change, a coalition of patients, professionals, and advocates from around the state who have worked together to craft a rights-based medicinal marijuana initiative designed protect the rights of medical cannabis patients, farmers, and small businesses in Ohio. Sign up on this page and you can be part of our movement too!
WHY WAS THIS INITIATIVE CREATED?
The main reason Grassroots Ohioans (the organization) and Grassroots OH (the campaign) were formed is in order to organize Ohio cannabis advocates around sound policies that are in the spirit of what is best for Ohio’s long-term future. We believe that Ohioans were right to reject Issue 3, not only because it constituted an oligopoly, but also because it would have been codified in the Constitution. We believe Ohio’s Constitution is a document meant to house basic rights of citizens and not to specify regulatory structures. Science is evolving rapidly in drug policy and we do not believe it makes sense to enshrine pages upon pages of specific rules and regulations, which truly belong in legislation that can more easily be altered when necessary.
For these reasons, we are working with Ohio Families for Change on the MRR amendment declaring basic rights to cannabis and industrial hemp. This language contains a complete outline of necessary regulations; without placing limits in our constitution. This amendment was drafted with input from long time activists around the state. It is for Ohio by Ohioans.
WHAT IS THE PLAN?
The plan is to collect 305,000 valid signatures by July to qualify for the 2019 ballot via a mixture of volunteer and paid signature gatherers.
WHY WOULD THIS PLAN BE THE RIGHT ONE?
While we know that a degree of regulation is needed to ensure public health and safety, over-regulation – particularly when placed in the Constitution – only serves an obstacle to future progress. We intend to place a basic enumeration of marijuana and hemp rights into the Ohio Constitution and provide an outline for commerce and economic development, which would guide necessary laws needed to regulate commercial production and sales.
The MMR also provides an outline for consumer protections.
Simply put, this initiative starts with patients and ends with patients, plus it includes the added bonus of increased opportunity for small Ohio businesses and farms to thrive. We believe our Constitution is a place to declare inherent rights of Ohioans and not to enshrine investor interests.
WHO WILL FILL IN REGULATIONS – THE STATE?
We have heard some concerned citizens weary of the State and legislature’s perceived will to enact regulations that restrict cannabis access. The individual rights we are working to add to Ohio’s Constitution assure that whatever legislature is in place, individual’s rights to use the plant are guaranteed. The regulatory language in the MRRA will provide an outline for commerce. We are also removing Cannabis from Schedule I of the Schedule of Controlled Substances to allow researchers to work with it. Our amendment will ensure a far better situation that we face today.
We are building a grassroots coalition to work with legislators to educate and collaborate around cannabis and the need for access; however, we have been doing this work since 2013 and we are open to continuing to pursue this path so long as legislators and state regulators come around to evidence-based reform. Rather than waiting for that time, we intend to collect signatures for a citizen initiated statute.
WHY IS NO AMOUNT OF CANNABIS SPECIFIED IN THE AMENDMENT?
Our amendment is flexible because it secures the right to cannabis for medicinal purposes, which is different amounts for different conditions and changes based on advances in science — a specific amount should not be specified in the Ohio Constitution, because it would be difficult to alter if need be. Restrictive regulations would be ruled “unconstitutional” under law specifically due to this amendment.
IS THIS WHAT IS BEST FOR PATIENTS?
As other states have imposed restrictive conditions lists for which roughly 2% of the state population qualifies, there is a huge portion of the patient population that has the potential to benefit from cannabis that is not being touched by those restrictive laws. The MRRA amendment is for adult use, allowing the decision of whether medicinal cannabis is right to the individual and their doctor. Interestingly, states with medical cannabis systems generally experience a 25% drop in opiate overdose deaths; with this amendment, access to this scientifically-proven pain reliever has the potential to make a dent in Ohio’s 46 overdose deaths that occur tragically each and every week.
WHAT ABOUT OHIO’S FARMERS AND HEMP’S POTENTIAL?
We are cognizant and deeply respectful of the role the crop hemp played in our country’s establishment and the potential it holds to help launch us into a sustainable future, as well as the rights of farmers to grow. This amendment would legalize hemp production and commerce.
WHAT ABOUT OHIO SMALL BUSINESS PERSONS?
Our amendment protects the fundamental right for for Ohioans 21-year-of age to participate in a fair and open process for determining business licensing structures. We guaranteed this by ensuring the right to equal access, ownership, and employment for all Ohioans.
WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?
Our amendment says that:
Residents who have NOT attained the age of majority may be administered medicinal cannabis for use under the direction of licensed physician.”
DOES THIS AMENDMENT PROMOTE DRUGGED ACTIVITIES?
No. It does not authorize “any person, while under the influence of cannabis, to (1) engage in any task that would endanger others or constitute negligence or professional malpractice, or (2) operate, navigate, or control any motorized vehicle or heavy equipment.
ARE DRUG TESTS ALLOWED AND HOW IS IMPAIRMENT DEFINED?
Essentially our amendment does NOT say testing is banned and DOES say that impairment must be determined by science.
Here’s the text:
“An individual shall not be considered to be under the influence of cannabis under Ohio law solely because of the presence of active or inactive metabolites of cannabis in the individual’s urine, blood, tissue, hair or skin, or as detectable by any other measure of body chemistry. The legal definition of impairment as a result of cannabis use, and applicable testing to determine such impairment, shall be based on scientific evidence of impairment.”
WILL PEOPLE BE ABLE TO CONSUME CANNABIS WHEREVER THEY WANT?
Nothing in this Amendment shall interfere with or change the ban on smoking in public places under the Smoke Free Workplace Act passed by Ohio voters in November 2006.
WHEN WOULD THIS AMENDMENT TAKE EFFECT?
This Amendment will take effect 30 days after passage.