Ohio GOP Leaders Win Battle to Keep Cannabis Legalization Off 2022 Ballot

Ohioans hoping to voice their opinions on legalizing adult-use cannabis via this election cycle will have to wait until next year.

Ballot initiative organizers from the Coalition to Regulate Like Alcohol (CRMLA) announced May 13 they will suspend their 2022 campaign and aim for 2023 instead, The Cincinnati Enquirer first reported.

That decision comes two weeks after CRMLA legalization advocates filed a lawsuit against House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, and Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, claiming the GOP leaders were trying to block their 2022 ballot effort on a signature-gathering technicality.

RELATED: Ohio Cannabis Advocates File Lawsuit Against Lawmakers For Attempt to Block 2022 Initiative

In short, CRMLA submitted 206,943 signatures to  Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office ahead of a Jan. 3 deadline. But LaRose, who was also named a defendant in the lawsuit, announced his office rejected more than 87,000 of those signatures, bringing CRMLA’s efforts short of meeting the roughly 133,000 valid signatures required to put its statute before the General Assembly for consideration.

CRMLA officials then turned in additional signatures Jan. 13 to meet that required benchmark—LaRose certified those extra signatures Jan. 28. But GOP leaders questioned the validity of the additional signatures, since they were turned in after the Jan. 3 deadline, the lawsuit claimed.

Because of the uncertainty associated with the differing interpretations of the timeline necessary for CRMLA’s proposed initiative to qualify for the November 2022 ballot, the coalition’s officials were seeking expedited consideration of their lawsuit claims for declaratory relief.

On Friday, the

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