Ohio: No Opportunity for Voters to Decide on Marijuana Legalization Until 2023

Litigating parties have agreed to a settlement that will postpone any opportunity for voters to decide on a citizens’ initiated marijuana measure until November 2023.

The measure, spearheaded by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, seeks to permit adults to possess, home cultivate, and purchase limited quantities of cannabis. Earlier this year, advocates collected a sufficient number of signatures from registered voters to place the marijuana legalization measure before lawmakers, but they refused to take any action on it. In response, advocates ought to collect additional signatures to place the issue before voters this November. Ohio’s Secretary of State countered that petitioners missed the deadline to qualify for the 2022 ballot.

Commenting on the settlement, Coalition spokesperson Tom Haren said: “The most important thing for us was preserving an opportunity for Ohio voters to decide this issue. We are delighted to have reached this settlement, which has preserved our initial signatures, provided the General Assembly with a second opportunity to consider the proposed statute, and established a clear path to ballot access in 2023. To be certain: we aren’t going anywhere and are undeterred in our goal to legalize cannabis for all adults in Ohio.”

NORML’s State Policies Director Jax James said, ”It is unfortunate that voters will have to wait at least another year before being able to weigh in on this issue, but even more unfortunate that their elected officials refuse to even debate the issue — despite it being supported by the majority of Ohioans.”

NORML’s Political Director Morgan Fox, and Ohio native, added: “While state legislators are punting on this issue, local leaders throughout Ohio are listening to their constituents and taking the lead to minimize and repair the damages caused by the government’s war on cannabis consumers, including decreasing penalties and reprioritizing law enforcement resources to focus on actual crimes. It is time for Columbus to wake up and act in the best interest of the Buckeye State by legalizing and regulating cannabis for adults.”

Voters in several states, including Maryland and Missouri, are anticipated to decide on marijuana legalization measures this fall.

A livestream discussion with NORML’s State Policies Manager Jax James on the status of pending 2022 marijuana legalization initiatives is available here.