The state of Ohio is known for its diverse landscapes, bustling cities, and interesting history, including home to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton. Pretty soon, you should be able to enjoy some recreational cannabis and either fly high on one of the many coasters at Cedar Point or commemorate the home of both Neil Armstrong and The Wright Brothers.
Ohio 2023 Cannabis Legislation
Ohio is still making history with a new ballot initiative to legalize recreational cannabis officially certified to appear on the November 2023 ballot. There are currently 23 states and Washington, DC, that have taken steps to legalize the usage and sale of recreational cannabis. The Buckeye state will be the 24th state to legalize recreational cannabis when the initiative passes this November. Proponents are highly optimistic with overwhelming voter support for the initiative, known as Issue 2, that would make Ohio the 24th state to end the failed policy of cannabis prohibition.
The Coalition to Regulate cannabis like Alcohol was successful in gathering signatures after a two-year campaign to officially qualify the legalization of adult-use cannabis for the November 2023 ballot.
What Does Ohio’s cannabis Ballot Initiative Include?
The upcoming ballot initiative for legalized recreational cannabis in Ohio would allow for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to 2 ½ ounces of cannabis and up to 15 g of cannabis concentrate. Ohioans would also be allowed to cultivate up to six cannabis plants in their home, and households with two or more adults would be allowed to grow up to 12 plants in total.
The new measure would also establish a comprehensive regulatory system that would include licensed growers and retail dispensaries to sell cannabis products to adults. It would also establish a sales tax of 10% on cannabis and cannabis products, with tax revenue allocated towards local communities, job programs, and substance abuse treatment disorders.
A new state agency deemed the Division of Cannabis Control would have the authority to regulate, license, investigate, and hold accountable all adult use operators in the cannabis industry, including individuals required to be licensed and adult use testing laboratories.
Opposition to Legalized Recreational cannabis in Ohio
In spite of massive voter support for legalized adult-use cannabis, there are several legislators who have commented publicly that they would block the legalization of cannabis in any form in any way they can, which means they would willingly overturn the will of the voters. Ohio Republicans, even though they belong to the same party, are divided on the effort to legalize cannabis for recreational use in the state. Some legislators, including Gov. Mike DeWine, say legalization would be a mistake, and he has always had an anti-recreational weed stance.
Ohio Republicans are split on the cannabis legalization issue, and some threaten to repeal the bill the day after it passes. Supporters will be anxiously awaiting the outcome of this November election and any ensuing fallout.
Ohio’s History of cannabis Legislation
Ohio was actually the sixth state in the nation to pass a bill decriminalizing cannabis back in 1975. The possession of up to 100 g of cannabis is considered a minor misdemeanor, which carries a maximum fine of $150 and no jail time. Possession of anywhere between 100 g and 200 g of cannabis may carry a sentence of up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine. As reported by Wikipedia, according to the uniform crime reports issued by the FBI in 2013, 17,000 arrests were made for possession of cannabis in Ohio, and according to the ACLU, those arrested in Ohio were 4.1 times more likely to apply to African Americans rather than Caucasians.
Some feel the new ballot initiative does not do enough to rectify social injustices related to cannabis and does not include provisions for automatic resentencing or clearance of records for those harmed by cannabis convictions. The text does include, however, that Ohio would research and find criminal and judicial justice reform, including sentencing reform, parole, bail, ceiling and expungement of records, and legal aid related to cannabis.
Ohio’s Medical cannabis Program
Ohio has had a legalized medical cannabis program since 2016, with the first medical dispensaries opening in 2019. There are currently 101 dispensaries operating with certificates. The Ohio Medical cannabis Control Program (MMCP) oversees and allows for people with certain medical conditions to use medical cannabis with the recommendation of a physician licensed in Ohio and certified by the state medical board.
Where to Get Cannabis Seeds in Ohio
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