The measure was approved to be on the ballot in August after a campaign led by citizens.
On November 7th, 2023, voters in Ohio will have the chance to accept or reject Issue 2, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, which concerns the legality of cannabis in the state (1). If passed, 2.5 ounces of cannabis and a half ounce of extract for recreational purposes would be legal for adults over 21 years of age to buy and possess (1). A Division of Cannabis Control would be created to regulate the sales (2). A social equity program would also be developed to assist “disadvantaged groups” to start a cannabis business, access to medical cannabis would be improved, and between six and 12 plants would be allowed to be cultivated at home (1,2).
Supporters of Issue 2 argued that cannabis legalization will have several benefits. “We’re taking money away from drug dealers and Michigan dispensary owners and putting it back into the pockets of our local governments,” said Tom Haren of the campaign Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which led the effort to place the measure on the ballot (1,3).
Opponents argued that most of the 10% tax on cannabis will end up back in the cannabis industry rather than benefitting taxpayers and small businesses, and that traffic and workplace accidents could increase (1). “We know that recreational marijuana legalization is meant to make a few investors rich, not to make Ohio better,” stated the campaign Protect Ohio Workers and Families in the text of the initiative (2). “Legalizing recreational marijuana is today’s version of Big Tobacco—big corporations getting rich at the expense of our kids and society.”
Recent public opinion polls suggest that the initiative may have enough support to pass (4). Ohio would be the 24th state to approve cannabis for recreational purposes (3). Medical cannabis was legalized in 2016, one year after a recreational cannabis initiative was rejected (2).