Ohio becomes the 24th state to legalize adult-use cannabis
Issue 2 legalizes the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and up to 15 grams of concentrates for adults 21 and over. Residents may also grow up to six marijuana plants at home, with no more than 12 plants permitted per household.
A 10 percent tax on adult-use cannabis products will be imposed. The funds will mostly support social equity initiatives and substance misuse education; just over a third will return to communities that welcome cannabis businesses.
The measure passed with over 55 percent of the vote. The law will take effect on December 7th; it’s anticipated that licensing for adult-use cannabis businesses will take roughly nine months.
Ohio legalized medical marijuana in 2016. Current medical operators in the state will have a headstart on adult-use licensure. An additional 40 cultivator licenses and 50 adult-use retailer licenses will also be awarded, with preference given to social equity applicants. Cities are allowed to opt out of licensing new cannabis businesses, but existing medical cannabis companies can remain.
“The results of today’s election reaffirm Ohioans’ – and Americans’ – overwhelming support for cannabis legalization,” said Tim Conder, chief executive officer of TILT Holdings, in a statement sent to GreenState. TILT is an existing medical licensed operator in Ohio.
“As a proud participant in Ohio’s medical cannabis program since 2016, we look forward to serving even more Ohioans with high-quality cannabis products and personalized recommendations and care,” he continued. “Ohio’s adult-use program will create more jobs, more tax revenue, and greater investment in communities statewide.”
Ohio’s adult-use law does not specifically call for automatic expungement of past cannabis convictions. It instead calls for further inquiry, compelling regulators to “study and fund” further criminal justice reform.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CTRMLA) backed Issue 2, submitting close to a quarter of a million signatures to get the initiative on the November ballot. Analysts predict the newly minted adult-use market could reach a projected value of $4 billion within a few years.
Advocates of legal cannabis in Ohio are likely celebrating their victory. But as possible cannabis reform at the federal level remains hazy, it remains to be seen if the market in the Buckeye State will see any drastic change.