Ohio: Voters Will Decide on Adult Use Legalization Measure This November

Voters will go to the polls this November to decide on a citizens’ initiated measure that seeks to legalize and regulate the possession, home cultivation, and retail sale of cannabis to those age 21 or older.

The Secretary of State’s Office announced late Wednesday that members of the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol collected the sufficient number of signatures from registered votes to place the statutory question before voters this November.

The ballot proposal allows for the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or 15 grams of marijuana extract by adults. Ohioans could purchase marijuana at retail locations or grow up to 12 plants in a private residence (where at least two adults reside). Retail cannabis products would be taxed at 10 percent and sales are anticipated to generate between $276.2 million to $403.6 million in annual cannabis tax dollars by the fifth year of sales. Municipalities can opt out of allowing retail sales if a majority of elected officials decide in favor of an ordinance to do so.

Coalition spokesperson Tom Haren said, “We expect that our proposal is going to pass with a mandate from Ohio voters that we want to follow in the footsteps of the other half of the United States that have legalized and regulated marijuana since 2013.”

NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano added: “Historically, when given the choice, voters have consistently chosen to reject cannabis criminalization and to embrace legalization and regulation. Ohioans have seen similar legalization laws adopted in neighboring states and they know that regulating the cannabis market is preferable to the failed policy of prohibition.”

In 2015, Ohio voters rejected a ballot proposal that sought to establish a limited legal market for the commercial production and sale of marijuana to adults. Several provisions of that measure were highly controversial, particularly those that sought to restrict the pool of licensed commercial growers to include only the initiative’s financial investors.

Statewide polling compiled by Suffolk University in July shows that a nearly six in ten Ohio voters support adult use marijuana legalization.

Because the proposed measure is a statutory question rather than a constitutional amendment, state lawmakers have the option of amending its provisions if it is eventually approved by the voters.

If passed, Ohio will be the 24th state to legalize the adult-use marijuana market, and the 14th do so by a public vote.