Eight years after outright rejecting marijuana legalization, Ohioans have spoken and passed the Issue 2 initiative that allows any adult over 21 to smoke marijuana legally.
The initiative will officially go into effect 30 days after Election Day, allowing for the “cultivation, processing, sale, purchase, possession, home grow, and use” of recreational marijuana in the state.
Issue 2 Outlined
Along with the legalization, an additional 10% tax will be put in place on every purchase of marijuana. The tax revenue collected will go to the studying and funding of reforming the criminal justice system.
The substance will only be allowed to be purchased at a dispensary and individuals will be allowed to have the maximum amount of 2.5 ounces of marijuana and 15 grams of the substances abstract on their person.
The initiative will also establish the Division of Cannabis that will regulate, investigate and penalize adult use cannabis operators, adult use testing laboratories, and individuals required to be licensed.
There will also be more legal protection put in place for those adults participating in cannabis use.
Behind this year’s ballot initiative was The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, a group that has been focused on encouraging Ohio legislators to regulate marijuana for adult-use, just like we do for alcohol.
In proposing this initiative, the Coalition sought to “fix a broken system while ensuring local control, keeping marijuana out of the hands of children, and benefiting everyone.
A Suffolk University/USA Today poll conducted back in July showed 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.
The act of smoking marijuana will fall under the state’s smoking ban, which outlines that plant smoking of any material is prohibited in enclosed spaces open to the public, with exceptions for outdoor patios, smoke shops and hotel rooms designated for smoking.
With Issue 2 being an initiated statute, legislators can revise the language and any changes they make will have to go through both the Ohio House of Representatives and the Senate.
Ohio is now the 24th state to have legalized the use and purchase of recreational marijuana following behind New York and Michigan.