Former Deputy Sheriff Carlis McDerment to become the ORG’s next President

The Ohio Rights Group (ORG) proudly continues its mission of support for the medical, therapeutic and industrial uses of the cannabis plant in Ohio. The group still enthusiastically supports the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment (OCRA), which would codify those uses as patient rights into the Ohio constitution.

Although the number of signatures collected so far was insufficient to make the fall 2014 ballot, the proposed amendment remains viable and is still being circulated to gather the 301,105 signatures of registered Ohio voters now necessary for ballot placement. The total count for signatures was lowered from 385,247 following the recent gubernatorial election in which the turnout used to calculate this requirement was much lower than in 2010. The ORG has so far collected approximately 150,000 signatures for the OCRA, roughly one-third to one half of those required. The law governing ballot initiatives also mandates signatures from 44 counties of Ohio’s 88 counties to exceed 5 percent of that county’s gubernatorial vote. This benchmark has been met for 30 Ohio counties, or almost 70 percent of that requirement.

In the short two years of its existence, the ORG has transformed into the premier cannabis advocacy group in the state of Ohio. In July, the ORG received its determination letter form the IRS affirming its tax exempt status under section 501(c)(4) of the IRS code. The Alternative Health and Renewable Resource PAC was formed also formed in July to accept contributions and make expenditures on behalf of the amendment.

In addition, the ORG counts over 14,000 likes on its main Facebook page – it has dozens of pages for ORG-affiliated groups – more than any other state-based cannabis advocacy organization in the nation. Over 8,000 supporters have been segued into their respective counties and regions for grassroots organizing that operates under the leadership of “County Captains” and Regional Managers.
Staying true to its 501(c)(4) status, the ORG’s plans for 2015 include continued support for and circulation of the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment. The group believes that the Ohio legislature will take up the medical cannabis issue once it returns to session later this month. The ORG will be there to closely monitor legislative developments. A Speakers Bureau is also in the works to get the ORG message out to churches, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other civic venues.

Quite likely, the most noted development is the recent announcement that ORG President John Pardee will be stepping down from his post to be replaced by former deputy sheriff, Carlis McDerment. Pardee has held the position since the inception of the ORG in January 2013. He noted: “My #1 goal as President was to unite our community and give folks the feeling that we can run a professional statewide organization and win reform for the folks who need it. We were largely successful in that effort. … With the interests of keeping this effort moving towards victory, I am hereby announcing my intention to step down as [ORG] President.”

Pardee will be replaced by Carlis McDerment, a former Fairfield County deputy sheriff, who has served as a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition since 2011. McDerment joined the ORG in late 2013 to spread the word about the OCRA and was appointed to the ORG board in the fall of 2014 as Vice President. McDerment’s experience in law enforcement gave him a firsthand view of the catastrophic failure that characterizes the banning of cannabis in Ohio, which he is determined to reverse, stating: “I believe that the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment stands the best chance of bringing cannabis reform to Ohio in the shortest time possible. It is vitally important to first take the patients who use this plant medicinally off the battlefield of the drug war. I saw this clearly during my time in law enforcement and it should be the first priority of any moral society. The Ohio Rights Group is strong and well positioned to achieve this goal.”

The Ohio Rights Group is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that advocates for the rights of Ohioans to make medical, therapeutic and industrial use of the Cannabis plant and supports the growing number of individuals, organizations and industries facilitating those uses. The organization is fielding the Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment, based on Article 1: Bill of Rights in the Ohio Constitution, which reads, all Ohioans are, “by nature, free and independent, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and seeking and obtaining happiness and safety.


Do you have questions about the Ohio Rights Group or the medical, therapeutic and industrial uses of cannabis in Ohio? Please visit these webpages first:

Ohio Rights Group Accomplishments: Here’s what the ORG did in 2013 and 2014

Questions and Answers: Whether it concerns PACs, the philosophy behind the OCRA, or the ORG’s position on various issues like monopolies, you’ll hopefully find the answer here.

The ORG’s Vision: What we stand for.

Medical Cannabis: Links to over 200, studies concerning 18 different medical conditions that may benefit from the therapeutic use of cannabis.

Industrial Hemp: Learn about the many uses of industrial hemp through colorful graphics, timely statistics, informative reports, educational videos and much more.

The Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment: Find the ballot language and download a petition to circulate for signatures.


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