Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Friday certified ResponsibleOhio’s petition summary language for a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana use for people with debilitating medical conditions and adults over age 21. DeWine does not pass judgment on the merit of the amendment — only whether the summary that will appear on petitions accurately describes the proposed ballot issue. The attorney general’s office is the first stop for groups proposing a statewide ballot issue. Once certified by the attorney general, the Ohio Ballot Board, a bipartisan panel headed by Secretary of State Jon Husted, decides whether the proposal is one or multiple issues. From there, groups must then collect more than 305,591 valid signatures of Ohio voters, meeting certain thresholds in 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, to qualify for the ballot. The deadline to qualify for the November ballot is July 1.
A Denver man accused of killing his wife after eating marijuana-infused candy he bought at a legal pot shop has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. Richard Kirk, 48, entered his plea during a brief court appearance Friday as members of his family watched. The shooting stoked concerns about the effects of the marijuana snacks, which have become popular since the state legalized recreational pot shops. Colorado lawmakers last year tightened regulations on edible marijuana, responding to the Kirk case and the death of a college student who jumped from a hotel balcony after eating a potent marijuana cookie. The couple’s marital and financial problems were escalating, and Kristine Kirk was covered by a $340,000 life insurance policy, Denver detectives said. She had recently told friends she had grown afraid of her husband because they had been fighting so much. Richard Kirk is scheduled to go on trial Oct. 26.
The D.C. Cannabis Campaign is hosting two seed exchanges this month, since the sale of marijuana is still illegal. Judging by the RSVPs for the event, there’s high demand. By Friday, more than 340 people had signed up for the two events, being held March 26 at the Northwest D.C. absinthe bar Libertine and March 28 and at the campaign’s headquarters. Adam Eidinger, chairman of the campaign that got the legalization issue on the November ballot, said his group will facilitate the exchange of seeds but will not be giving away any. He estimates that so far there’s a 30-1 ratio of people who have signed up for the event and are looking for seeds compared to those who are giving them away. Legality issues of purchasing marijuana aside, it’s difficult to find seeds to start a harvest because “good marijuana doesn’t have seeds,” Mr. Eidinger said.
A North Carolina lawmaker has spearheaded a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state. State Rep. Kelly Alexander, a Democrat, has attempted such legislation three times before but said he’s more confident than ever that the bill could pass this time around. A rally in support of the bill is expected to take place next week outside the Statehouse in Raleigh. If the Legislature approves the bill and McCrory signs it, North Carolina would become the first Southeast state to legalize marijuana. Fourteen state representatives have co-sponsored the legislation, all of them Democrats. Alexander said that allowing medical marijuana to be produced and sold under strict state regulations could rake in as much as $100 million in tax revenue. Recent polling showed that some 70 percent of North Carolinians supported doctors being able to prescribe medical marijuana for certain conditions.
Rules to implement Florida’s limited medical marijuana law, already mired in bureaucratic red tape, became further entangled this week by a new legal challenge. A Jacksonville attorney representing a 4-year-old girl with an inoperable brain tumor argued in a filing with the state Division of Administrative Hearings that the proposed regulations for a cannabis strain known as Charlotte’s Web are inadequate to help suffering patients. The proposed rule is invalid, Christensen wrote, because it “fails to provide any assurances that there will be reasonable access to this medicine, leaving this critical delegated authority left up to a group of five nursery owners who have absolutely no experience growing cannabis, let alone a medicine.” The Charlotte’s Web legislation was “well intentioned,” said Ben Pollara, executive director of Florida for Care, “but the continuing issues with its implementation should give legislators good reason to start from scratch and pass a law that actually works and one that will help a broader group of sick and suffering Floridians.”