Ohio: Retail Cannabis Sales Would Yield $374 Million in Annual Tax Revenue

Columbus, OH: The establishment of a regulated adult-use cannabis market in Ohio could yield as much as $374 million dollars in annual tax revenue, according to a newly published economic analysis.

A pair of researchers affiliated with Ohio State University estimated the amount of new tax revenue that would be raised by the passage of proposed citizen’s ballot initiative. The initiative, if enacted, would impose a ten percent tax on the retail sale of cannabis products.

Researchers projected that licensed retailers could raise between $276 million and $374 million annually by year five of operations. They described their estimates as “conservative.”

According to an analysis by the Marijuana Policy Project, tax revenues derived from the licensed retail sale of state-legal, adult-use cannabis products grew by more than 30 percent between 2020 and 2021, totaling over $3.7 billion last year. Adult-use sales generated the greatest amount of revenue in California ($1.3 billion), followed by Washington ($631 million), Illinois ($424 million), and Colorado ($396 million). 

In January, advocates with Ohio’s Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol turned in the requisite number of signatures from registered voters to place an adult-use legalization proposal before lawmakers. The measure allows for the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or 15 grams of marijuana extract by those age 21 or older. Adult Ohioans could purchase marijuana at retail locations or grow up to 12 plants in a private residence (where at least two adults reside).

Lawmakers thus far have refused to take any action on the measure. If they ultimately fail to do so, advocates can elect to gather additional signatures to place the measure before voters on the November ballot.

Full text of the study, “What tax revenues should Ohioans expect if Ohio legalizes adult-use cannabis,” is available online.