A majority of voters from most every demographic in Ohio support passing Issue 2, a citizens’ initiated measure to legalize and regulate the possession, home cultivation, and retail sale of cannabis for those age 21 or older, according to statewide polling data released today by Baldwin Wallace University.
Overall, 57 percent of registered voters support the measure — including two-thirds of Democrats and 59 percent of Independents. The majority of voters in urban areas (65 percent) and rural areas (53 percent) back the proposal, as do most suburban voters (57 percent).
The poll’s findings are consistent with those of prior surveys showing that just under 60 percent of Ohioans endorse adult-use legalization.
Dr. Tom Sutton, a political science professor at Baldwin Wallace University, which conducted the poll, said the survey’s findings indicate that Issue 2 is “almost certain” to pass.
NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano agrees. “Historically, when given the choice, voters have consistently chosen to reject cannabis criminalization and to embrace legalization and regulation,” he said. “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. Last week, members of the GOP-led Ohio Senate passed a resolution urging voters to reject the initiative. The resolution makes a number of false and misleading claims, such as: “Marijuana use can irreversibly reduce intelligence,” and “Marijuana use more than doubles the risk of developing opioid-use disorder.” In fact, numerous studies show that cannabis exposure is not associated with long-term changes in either brain morphology or cognition, and most people who consume cannabis eventually reduce or cease their use of opioids.
Ohio’s Senate Leader, Republican Matt Huffman, later said that lawmakers would likely seek to amend aspects of the measure if it is passed by voters this fall.
Voters will decide on the measure on November 7th. Early voting in Ohio has already begun.
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 about the Issue 2 initiative is available from the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.