On Tuesday night, Ohio voters approved Issue 2, a measure to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana for adults statewide. As of 9:35 p.m. ET, the “Yes” vote leads with roughly 55.5% of the vote while “No” has 44.5% of the vote.
Ohio is the 24th state (plus Washington, D.C.) to legalize recreational marijuana, joining Michigan and Illinois as Midwestern states with such approval. The passage was expected as polls throughout the summer and fall showed steady support for approval.
Under the law, adults will be allowed to purchase or possess at one time no more than 2.5 ounces of flower and 15 grams of extracts.
Besides permitting the use, possession and transport of marijuana legally obtained in the state, the new law will also allow adults 21 and older to grow cannabis at home with up to six plants per person but 12 plants in total per household, regardless of the number of adults living there.
In a statement issued Tuesday night, Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb said of the passage of Issue 2, “Decriminalizing marijuana is a victory for all of us. State Issue 2’s passage promotes safe use, reduces the barriers that disproportionately target Black and brown people and finally ends the prison pipeline for cannabis use.”
Ohio previously voted down a legalization proposal in 2015 when voters rejected Issue 3.
That proposal garnered opposition even from supporters of legalization because it would have written into the Ohio constitution provisions restricting cannabis cultivation to just 10 pre-selected companies, creating an oligopoly.
While medical marijuana was approved in 2016 and has been available since 2019, retail sales for recreational use likely won’t start until late next year.
Jeremy Nobile contributed to this report.