What Might Happen If Suspended Medical Marijuana Campaign Comes Back In 2017

May 31, 2016

Now that an organization that initially wanted to put a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana has halted its campaign to get signatures for this fall’s ballot, the question - is what will happen to that campaign in the future?  A political scientist to provide some possible answers.

When Ohioans for Medical Marijuana suspended its campaign and petition signature gathering efforts this past weekend, spokesman Aaron Marshall said part of the reason was state lawmakers had passed their own medical marijuana plan. And then there was the other reason.

“You know the reality is raising money for medical marijuana policy changes is incredibly difficult.”

David Niven, a political science professor at the University of Cincinnati, says raising money could be especially tough this year. Niven says if the group decides to pick up its suspended campaign next fall, it wouldn’t be nearly as expensive or difficult to get the message out.

“One advantage to 2017 would be somebody would actually listen to them whereas in 2016, it would have been almost impossible for them to get any attention. I mean up against Trump, Clinton, Strickland and Portman, they could have screamed from the hilltops about their issue and nobody was going to hear them. You know the downside for 2017 for medical marijuana would be that very few people are going to vote in 2017 and it’s hard to generate excitement in a low turnout election.”

Ohioans for Medical Marijuana says for now, it’ll focus on making sure the state does what it promised the legislature’s medical marijuana plan would do once Gov. John Kasich signs it, which he is expected to do later this week.