The majority of Ohioans support the passage of a citizens’ initiated measure (Issue 2) to legalize and regulate the possession, home cultivation, and retail sale of cannabis for those age 21 or older. Voters will decide on the measure this November.
Most Ohioans back marijuana legalization in general and endorse Issue 2 specifically, according to recent polls. Survey data published in August reported that 59 percent of respondents — including 68 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of Independents — intended to vote the measure. A more recent poll, published this week, finds that a similar percentage of Ohioans say that they “definitely” or “probably” will vote ‘yes’ on the measure this Election Day.
Another statewide poll, compiled by Suffolk University in July, also reported similar overall support — although with only 40 percent of Republicans endorsing the plan.
NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said that he was not surprised by the polling results. “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.”
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.
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.
Additional information on the initiative is available from the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.