With the effort to get a medical marijuana initiative on the 2008 ballot in Michigan well underway, reform proponents are now eying next door Ohio, the Columbus Dispatch reported Saturday. The newspaper said the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is weighing its options in the Buckeye State.
"Ohio would be a state worth considering, certainly a high priority. It would be a question of timing," said Edward Orlett, a former Democratic state legislator who represents DPA in Ohio.
DPA sponsored a 2002 Ohio initiative that would have mandated treatment instead of incarceration for many drug offenders. It was defeated 2-to-1 at the polls after the state's Republican political establishment campaigned against it, but now Ohio legislators are pondering passing a bill that would do basically the same thing.
A medical marijuana initiative effort in Ohio would likely attract the interest of Cleveland-based Peter Lewis, the chairman and former CEO of Progressive Insurance, and a major contributor to marijuana reform efforts who gives millions of dollars each year to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).
MPP has awarded a startup grant to the Ohio Patient Network, a Columbus-based group that supports medical marijuana, the newspaper reported.
Twelve states have enacted laws allowing for the medicinal use of marijuana. None of them are in the Midwest.