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Ohio Issue 2: A Comprehensive Guide To Recreational Marijuana in Ohio




On November 7th, Ohioans will make a crucial decision: whether to legalize recreational marijuana in their state. The proposed law, known as State Issue 2, is presented by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, and it aims to establish a new government program with regulations for buying, selling, smoking, and growing adult-use cannabis. What do you need to know about this initiative? Let's delve into the details.

Why is Ohio voting on Issue 2?

Ohio's journey towards legalizing recreational marijuana has been in the making for years. Business leaders in the state's marijuana industry worked tirelessly to get this proposal before voters. Their initial target was the November 2022 election, but they faced challenges concerning the initiated statute process. Proponents argue that Ohio stands to benefit from taxing adult-use cannabis and that legalization could eliminate the black market. Opponents, on the other hand, formed the coalition “Protect Ohio Workers and Families,” which includes organizations like the Ohio Children's Hospital Association and the Fraternal Order of Police. The battle is intense, with strong arguments on both sides.

How much marijuana could I buy, possess, and grow?

If State Issue 2 passes, Ohioans aged 21 and older would be allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis in any form, except for extracts, and up to 15 grams of extract. Additionally, individuals could cultivate up to six plants each, with a limit of 12 plants per household, provided there are multiple adults. Sharing up to six homegrown plants with another adult user would be permitted as long as no money is involved, and it is not publicly promoted.

What kind of products would be available?

Dispensaries under this proposed law would offer a wide array of products, including flower, seeds, edibles, vapes, tinctures, oils, beverages, pills, lotions, and more. Ohioans could even petition state regulators to allow the sale of other cannabis forms not initially outlined in the law.

How would recreational marijuana be taxed in Ohio?

The taxation of recreational marijuana in Ohio would involve a 10% tax in addition to the state's sales tax. The generated revenue would be allocated as follows:

  • The cannabis social equity and jobs program (36%)
  • Support for municipalities with dispensaries (36%)
  • A fund to address substance abuse and addiction (25%)
  • Program and administrative costs (3%)

Researchers estimate that Ohio could generate between $276 million and $403 million in revenue by the fifth year of the adult-use program.

Who would regulate Ohio's recreational marijuana program?

The Division of Cannabis Control within the Department of Commerce would be responsible for setting rules related to licensing, testing, product standards, investigations, and more. This division would establish THC content caps for plant material (at least 35%) and extracts (at least 90%). The state's latest budget created the division to oversee the medical cannabis program, and it would continue to do so.

Who would be involved in growing and selling marijuana?

Similar to the medical marijuana program, Ohio would grant three types of licenses: cultivator (for growers), processor (for businesses that process cannabis into edibles, etc.), and dispensaries. Most adult-use licenses within nine months of the law's effective date would go to operators already licensed for medical cannabis. Additionally, there would be 40 cultivator licenses and 50 dispensary licenses designated for participants in the cannabis social equity and jobs program. These facilities would be smaller than the others. After two years, the division would consider authorizing more licenses based on market growth, supply, and dispensary distribution.

What's the social equity program?

This program aims to support business owners facing disadvantages related to their race, gender, ethnicity, or economic status, as well as those who have been arrested or convicted of a marijuana-related offense. The program would offer grants, loans, and technical assistance to eligible operators, with at least 50% of their license or application fees waived. It would also promote diverse hiring practices, study policy reforms related to marijuana enforcement, and work to prevent underage marijuana use.

Does Issue 2 expunge marijuana convictions?

No, Ohio's proposed law does not include a provision to automatically expunge certain arrests or convictions related to adult-use marijuana.

How much would marijuana cost in Ohio?

The cost of adult-use marijuana can vary by state, depending on supply and demand. In Ohio, prices would depend on factors like product availability and competition with neighboring states. Ohio medical cannabis patients have reported higher prices, leading some to seek products in Michigan.

Could you smoke in public if Ohio Issue 2 passes?

Smoking marijuana in public would be subject to Ohio's existing smoking ban, which generally prohibits smoking in enclosed public spaces. However, property owners and “any public place” could decide whether to accommodate marijuana use, making the issue of public consumption less clear.

Could people drive while high?

No, the proposed statute would prohibit individuals from operating a vehicle, including cars, bikes, boats, or airplanes, while under the influence of marijuana. Passengers would also be barred from smoking or vaping in a vehicle. Law enforcement would apply the state's existing OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired) laws to those violating these rules. Detecting marijuana impairment is more challenging than alcohol, and specialized testing methods are still in development.

Would kids be able to buy marijuana?

Recreational marijuana would only be available to individuals aged 21 and older. Dispensary employees knowingly selling to those under 21 would face penalties. The proposed statute outlines consequences for underage Ohioans using fake IDs or enlisting someone 21 and older to buy marijuana for them. Research has produced mixed results regarding the impact of legalization on youth consumption.

What would marijuana legalization mean for Ohio employers?

Public and private employers in Ohio could establish their own policies for marijuana use, including rules concerning drug testing and on-the-job use. They would not be required to accommodate employees who use marijuana and could take disciplinary action or decline to hire individuals who do.

Could municipalities or landlords ban recreational marijuana?

Municipalities could not prevent existing medical cultivators or processors from producing adult-use cannabis due to the significant capital investment involved. However, local governments could choose to prohibit adult-use dispensaries within their communities. Yet, an existing medical dispensary blocked from selling recreational products could petition for a public vote on the issue in the next general election, with approval from voters allowing the sale of adult-use cannabis. Landlords could not discriminate against tenants based solely on adult marijuana use, but they could prohibit smoking or growing cannabis on their property as part of lease agreements.

Now, with a clearer understanding of the details surrounding Ohio Issue 2, voters can make an informed decision on this significant matter come November 7th.


Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.