Ohio Residents Begin Voting on Full Cannabis Legalization

If approved, Ohio would become the 24th state to legalize adult-use cannabis.

Early voting has begun in Ohio, and this year’s ballot includes a measure to fully legalize cannabis.

Early in-person voting began on Oct. 11, with Election Day on Nov. 2. If approved, Issue 2 would “commercialize, regulate, legalize, and tax the adult use of cannabis” and make Ohio the 24th state to legalize adult-use cannabis.

A report by Ohio State University estimates that the state could see between $257 million and $400 million annually in tax revenue through legalization.

The primary backer of Issue 2 is the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. The group argues that Ohio’s existing medical cannabis law doesn’t provide enough access to cannabis for some patients and that legalization would bring in “hundreds of millions in tax revenue.”

In addition to legalizing adult-use cannabis for adults over the age of 21, the law would also allow adults to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and up to 15 grams of cannabis concentrates. It would also legalize home growing, with adults allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants at home. Households with more than one adult would be permitted to grow a total of 12 plants.

Revenue from the 10% sales tax established by Issue 2 would support:

  • Social equity and jobs programs (36%)
  • Towns that allow legal cannabis (36%)
  • Education and substance abuse programs (25%)
  • Administrative costs to create the system (3%).

It would also establish a Division of Cannabis Control under the State Department of Commerce.

Existing medical cannabis license holders would get priority in the adult-use market, with the measure requiring regulators to provide those operators new licenses within nine months of enactment of the law.

The division would also be required to issue 40 recreational cultivator licenses and 50 adult-use retailer licenses “with a preference to applications who are participants under the cannabis social equity and jobs program.”

Reefer Madness

A group of Republican state senators passed a resolution urging voters to say no to Issue 2.

The resolution states: “The proposed statute authored by the commercial marijuana industry does not serve the best interests of the people of Ohio, will bring unacceptable threats and risks to the health of all Ohioans, especially children, will create dangers in the workplace and unacceptable challenges and costs to employers, will make Ohio’s roads more dangerous, will impose significant new, unfunded costs to Ohio’s public social services, and serves only to advance the financial interests of the commercial marijuana industry and its investors.”

The coalition group pushed back against the opposition, asking television stations to quit running ads against Issue 2 that it says are full of mistruths. The group even created its own television ad to refute the opposition’s claims.

“With so much misinformation and lies coming from the other side, Ohioans deserve to hear the truth about Issue 2,” said Tom Haren, campaign spokesperson. “Our message focuses on the people who are relying on Issue 2 passing and the benefits to Ohio and our local communities.”

The coalition’s video includes people under the care of the Veterans Affairs who cannot receive a medical cannabis recommendation and many cancer-afflicted Ohioans being treated by a major medical system.

“Ohio is ready to regulate and tax marijuana for adults over the age of 21,” Haren said. “Our campaign is eager to continue to bring this message to Ohio voters and counter the ridiculous falsehoods being spread by our opponents.”

Debra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt is the Co-Founder, and Executive Editor of GMR. She has covered the cannabis industry for several years at Forbes, Seeking Alpha and TheStreet. Prior to becoming a financial journalist, Debra was a Vice President at Bear Stearns where she held a Series 7 and Registered Investment Advisor license. Debra has a Master's degree in Business Journalism from New York University.

One comment

  • Brian Kelly

    October 17, 2023 at 7:39 am

    Legalize federally now. What’s legal to possess and consume in nearly half of The United States should not make you a criminal in states still being governed by woefully ignorant prohibitionist politicians.

    Cannabis consumers in all states deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All-American pastime, alcohol.

    Plain and simple!

    Legalize Nationwide Federally Now!

    The “War on Cannabis” has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful “War on Drugs” that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.

    Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions more of our yearly tax dollars fighting a never ending “War on Cannabis”, lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. Especially now, due to Covid-19. It’s a no brainer.

    The Prohibition of Cannabis has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal records. Especially, if they happen to be of the “wrong” skin color or they happen to be from the “wrong” neighborhood. Which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?

    Cannabis is much safer to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?

    Let’s end this hypocrisy now!

    The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less cannabis “crimes” because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.

    Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

    Legalize Nationwide Federally Now! Support Each and Every Cannabis Legalization Initiative!


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