Following Tuesday’s election, marijuana has been legalized in nearly half of the United States. Ohio has become the 24th state to legalize weed.
According to Politico, Ohio residents have given their approval for Issue 2, a referendum that permits individuals who are 21 years of age or older to purchase and own up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis, as well as cultivate up to six plants in their home. It’s worth noting that medical marijuana has already been legal in the state since 2016.
According to a statement by Tom Haren, the spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, marijuana is no longer a controversial issue. As reported by The Washington Post, State Issue 2 was passed in Ohio by a large margin, indicating that Ohioans are in favor of legalizing and regulating adult-use marijuana. The statement emphasizes the clarity with which Ohioans have expressed their desire for the future of their state.
As of this year, the legalization of recreational marijuana use has expanded to cover Ohio, bringing the total number of states where adults can legally use weed to a significant 53% of the U.S. population. Minnesota and Delaware have also joined in on this trend and have recently legalized recreational marijuana use.
Republican Governor Mike DeWine and several conservative Ohio lawmakers were strongly against the referendum.
Ohio’s Department of Commerce will establish the Division of Cannabis Control to regulate the cannabis market, as per the approved measure. Moreover, a 10% tax will be levied on all cannabis purchases, with the revenue being allocated towards addiction treatment, social equity and job programs, as well as administrative costs.
According to a report from Ohio State University, the state could generate approximately $350 million in tax revenue annually from legal marijuana by 2023.
According to Politico, the citizen-initiated statute can be altered or removed by Republican legislators who are against it. However, lawmakers may think twice about repealing the law as it received significant support from voters, with 57% of Ohio voters in favor of it on Tuesday.
Republican Senate President Matt Huffman has expressed his intentions to scrutinize the “questionable language” in Issue 2 that pertains to the restrictions on THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, as reported by the Associated Press.
According to a statement made by Senator Huffman’s spokesperson, he believes that the marijuana industry wrote the statute and should not use it as a means to profit from their cash crop while the state is still recovering from the opioid epidemic.
In 2015, Ohio voters turned down a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana. However, if the current measure is approved, marijuana sales in Ohio will become legal by the end of 2024.