Ohio to vote on recreational cannabis use

In a further indication of the growing economic importance of cannabis cultivation and sales, the State of Ohio is only weeks away from a crucial vote on whether to allow recreational cannabis use.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has secured enough signatures to put its proposal before voters on a ballot on 7 November, Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office said. 

Advocates collected 127,772 signatures for the measure, more than the 124,046 required to qualify for the ballot. 

The proposed statute would allow Ohioans age 21 and older to buy and possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis and 15 grams of concentrates. They could also grow up to six plants individually and no more than 12 in a household with multiple adults.

Products would be taxed 10%, with revenue going toward administrative costs, addiction treatment programs, municipalities with dispensaries and a social equity and jobs program. A certain number of cultivator and dispensary licenses would be reserved for participants in that program, which aims to help those who are disproportionately affected by the enforcement of current marijuana laws.

“We are grateful to the thousands of Ohioans who helped us get to this point and are excited to bring our proposal to regulate marijuana like alcohol before Ohio voters this coming election day,” Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol spokesman Tom Haren said in a statement.

However, opposition to the reform is strong in many sections. A group of children’s hospitals, police and Republican politicians have formed a group called Protect Ohio Workers and Families to fight the measure.

“Is bringing new risks and costs to employers really worth it, just so some people can use marijuana whenever they want?” Angela Phillips, a campaign steering committee member for Protect Ohio Workers and Families, said in a statement. “This is bad for Ohio’s families, workers and economy.”