The AG has the responsibility under Ohio law to review summary language for petitions to be circulated in the state to create a ballot initiative or amend the state constitution.
He notes four reasons for his rejection of the language, but also notes that his transmittal letter did not "represent an exhaustive list of all the defects in the submitted summary."
Petitioners can revise the language, gather another 1,000 signatures and again submit it for approval.
Here is the press release:
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today rejected the petition for the proposed End Ohio Cannabis Prohibition Act of 2012 because the summary of the petition was not “fair and truthful.”
On August 2nd, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received a written petition from Responsible Ohioans for Cannabis to amend the Ohio Constitution by adding the End Ohio Cannabis Prohibition Act of 2012. Attorney General DeWine’s letter rejected the summary because it was unable to be certified as “fair and truthful” for the following reasons:
* The summary omits references to amendment language which repudiates federal cannabis prohibitions.
* The summary omits references to amendment language that persons cannot be considered to be under the influence of cannabis “solely because of the presence of metabolites or components of cannabis in his or her body.”
* The summary states that educational courses may be held by licensed commercial production companies or educational institutions to teach people, among other things, about “medical harms or benefits from the personal use of cannabis products.” However, no such language referencing medical harms or benefits exists in the amendment.
* The summary omits references to amendment language that confer new duties and responsibilities on the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Department of Commerce.
“For these reasons, I am unable to certify the summary as a fair and truthful statement of the proposed amendment,” DeWine stated in his letter rejecting the petition. “However, I must caution that this letter is not intended to represent an exhaustive list of all defects in the submitted summary.”
In order for a constitutional amendment to proceed, an initial petition containing summary language of the amendment and 1,000 signatures from Ohio registered voters must be submitted to the Ohio Attorney General. Once the summary language and initial signatures are certified, the Ohio Ballot Board would determine if the amendment contains a single issue or multiple issues. The petitioners must then collect signatures for each issue from registered voters in each of 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, equal to 5 percent of the total vote cast in the county for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election. Total signatures collected statewide must also equal 10 percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election.
The full text of today’s letter and of the initiative petitions submitted can be found at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/BallotInitiatives.