Advocates for legal cannabis in Ohio took a big step toward achieving their goal in July as they submitted the signatures required to put the issue on the ballot for the November 2023 elections. The proposal would make recreational cannabis legal in the state.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has submitted 222,198 signatures from Ohio voters across all 88 counties in the state. Their aim is to present a proposed law to Ohio voters for consideration in November.
“Our issue will authorize the possession and use of marijuana by adults 21 and over and provide a framework for the state to ensure proper regulation and fair taxation,” Coalition spokesman Tom Haren said in a statement. “This isn’t ground-breaking. We’re just trying to get Ohio in line with neighbors like Michigan and Illinois.”
Proposals Seeks to Make Cannabis Legal in Ohio For Those Over 21
The proposed law would authorize possession and use of marijuana for adults aged 21 and over, while establishing a comprehensive framework for the state to ensure appropriate regulation and fair taxation.
As of July 2023, 23 states have legalized recreational cannabis. The Coalition hopes to make Ohio the 24th. Haren said the idea is to bring Ohio in line with other states in the region, not make any groundbreaking changes beyond what other states have done.
“We want to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to how the state regulates alcohol sales and consumption,” Haren said. “We’re ready to end the prohibition and let Ohioans responsibly use marijuana just like people in half of the country already do. It’s just common sense.”
Following Success of Other States
Taking cues from the successful practices implemented in states where marijuana sales are already regulated, the proposed statute, initiated by citizens, grants authority to the Department of Commerce to regulate the industry. It also introduces a new 10% tax on adult-use marijuana sales, generating fresh tax revenue that would be reinvested in local communities across Ohio.
The ultimate goal is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to how alcohol sales and consumption are governed in the state. The coalition aims to end the prohibition and allow responsible marijuana use among Ohioans, aligning with the practices adopted by half of the country.
Minnesota became the 23rd state to legalize recreational marijuana in May. In addition to Ohio, other states that are on the verge of legalizing cannabis include Florida and Pennsylvania. In Florida, groups are gathering to put the issue on the 2024 ballot. In Pennsylvania, every surrounding state has legalized adult-use cannabis, which means Pennsylvania is losing tax and retail dollars to the other states.
However, Pennsylvania is a “tougher hill to climb ” in terms of getting recreational cannabis legal, marijuana attorney Brian Vicente told CNBC. He added, “We haven’t had the same momentum in the legislature there, but the governor does support it, so it’s possible it gets through this year.”