Going to the polls may allow you to hit your bowl…in public

Ohioans, once again, have the chance to choose whether to legalize marijuana in the state this November.

Issue 2, if passed, would legalize and regulate the cultivation, manufacturing, testing and sale of marijuana to adults over the age of 21. Possessing up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and up to 15 grams of the substance’s concentrates would also be made legal, as well as growing up to 6 plants per individual. An additional 10% tax would also be imposed if passed.

When Ohioans faced this decision eight years ago, they had overwhelmingly agreed to reject the proposal that cannabis be made legal. It was rejected 64% to 36%. 

Back in 2015, when Issue 3 was proposed, it was done as a constitutional amendment. Today’s Issue 2 is being proposed as a citizen-initiated statute or law. 

National Conference of State Legislatures defines citizen-initiative as the process which enables citizens to bypass their state legislature by placing proposed statutes and, in some states, constitutional amendments on the ballot.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol was behind this year’s ballot initiative. ​​They are a group focused on encouraging Ohio legislators to regulate marijuana for adult-use, just like Ohio does for alcohol.

“Our proposal fixes a broken system while ensuring local control, keeping marijuana out of the hands of children, and benefiting everyone,” reads the coalition’s website.

Ohio has had medical marijuana legalized since 2016, along with the first dispensary opening in 2019. Now, there are over 101 dispensaries that have received their certifications to operate, 34 of which have active provisional dispensary licenses as of Aug. 24, according to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program

A Suffolk University/USA Today poll conducted in July shows that 59% of Ohio voters support the possession and purchase of marijuana for those 21 and older. Showing 77% of Democrats, 63% of independents and 40% of Republicans were in support of the issue. 

As of today, there are 23 states that have now legalized the recreational use and sale of marijuana. It is also legal in Washington D.C..

The deadline to register to vote for the November general election is Oct. 10. Early in-person voting begins Oct. 11.

Election Day is Nov. 7.

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