Ohio Could Legalize Marijuana With New “Issue 2” Proposal

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Ohio is on the brink of joining the growing list of states in the United States that have legalized adult-use marijuana, as the majority of Ohioans show strong support for “Issue 2,” a November ballot initiative aimed at regulating and legalizing the recreational use of cannabis for individuals aged 21 and older.

Recent polls have solidified the expected outcome, with most Ohioans signaling their intention to vote in favor of the initiative. The results come as no surprise, considering the widespread backing for marijuana legalization across the state. The latest poll, commissioned by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and conducted by FM3 Research, revealed that 55 percent of likely voters stated they would “definitely” or “probably” support the initiative, while approximately 34 percent indicated they would “definitely” or “probably” oppose it. A mere 11 percent remained undecided. The survey collected responses from 843 likely voters.

Key provisions of the ballot measure include:

  1. **Possession Allowance: ** Adults would be permitted to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or 15 grams of marijuana extract.
  2. **Cultivation Rights: ** Ohioans could either purchase marijuana from licensed retail locations or cultivate up to 12 plants in a private residence where at least two adults reside.
  3. **Taxation: ** Retail cannabis products would be subject to a 10% tax.

The projected revenue from sales is substantial, with estimates ranging between $276.2 million to $403.6 million in annual cannabis tax revenue by the fifth year of legalized sales. It’s worth noting that towns in Ohio have the option to opt out of marijuana sales if a majority of elected officials choose to do so.

Paul Armentano, the deputy director of NORML, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. dedicated to marijuana law reform, expressed his lack of surprise regarding Ohioans’ support for legalization. He stated, “Historically, when given the choice, voters have consistently chosen to reject cannabis criminalization and to embrace legalization and regulation.” Armentano pointed out that Ohioans have witnessed the success of similar legalization laws in neighboring states, leading them to favor the regulation of the cannabis market over the ineffective policy of prohibition.

If “Issue 2” successfully passes in November, Ohio will become the 24th state in the nation to legalize adult-use marijuana and the 14th to do so through a public vote, signaling a significant shift in the state’s stance on cannabis.

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