Ohio Voters Set to Decide on Marijuana Legalization this November
This November, Ohio voters will decide on a monumental issue – the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. A proposed law to regulate marijuana like alcohol has been confirmed for the ballot after receiving an impressive 127,772 signatures from citizens across the state. The initiative needed approximately 124,000 signatures, or 3.5 percent of votes from the previous gubernatorial election, and signatures covering at least 1.5 percent of voters from half of Ohio's counties.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol spearheaded this effort, expressing gratitude to supporters and anticipation for the upcoming vote. The proposed law would permit any individual aged 21 or over to cultivate up to six marijuana plants at home, with a 10% tax levied on marijuana sales.
If passed, Ohio would become the 24th state, alongside D.C., to fully legalize the drug. Ohio already legalized medical marijuana in 2016, but the opening of dispensaries was delayed for three years due to regulatory hurdles.
A study from Ohio State University has projected significant potential tax revenue from this move, estimating around $275 to $450 million within five years. Opinion polls suggest that about 58 percent of Ohioans support legalizing marijuana, including a majority of Democrats, independents, and a sizable portion of Republicans.
However, this measure could face resistance from the state legislature, even if voters approve. As an initiated statute, it could be modified or repealed by Ohio lawmakers. Governor Mike DeWine (R) has previously expressed his opposition to legalizing marijuana.
But marijuana won't be the sole controversial issue on the ballot. A constitutional amendment addressing abortion rights is also slated for the November vote. This amendment proposes to establish "a fundamental right to reproductive freedom" subjected to "reasonable limits." With these two significant measures on the same off-year ballot, it's anticipated that voter turnout could be high.