ROSS COUNTY, Ohio — Ohioans are set to vote on November 7th regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana. The proposed measure, known as State Issue 2, has been presented by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. This initiative seeks to form a new governmental program outlining rules for purchasing, selling, consuming, and cultivating cannabis for adults.

The Coalition’s proposal comes after extensive efforts by business leaders in Ohio’s marijuana sector. Their initial goal was to introduce the proposal for the November 2022 elections, but disagreements with GOP leaders over the initiated statute process led to delays.

Supporters of State Issue 2 argue that legalizing adult-use cannabis will not only generate tax revenue for the state but also mitigate the black market’s influence. “Our goal was always to be part of the next ballot. We firmly believe Ohio is prepared for an adult-use market,” shared Tom Haren, a Coalition spokesperson.

However, critics, including Protect Ohio Workers and Families, a counter coalition, voice concerns over the potential negative impact of legalization. Various organizations, such as the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association and Ohio Business Roundtable, oppose the measure. Angela Phillips, Phillips Tube Group’s CEO, expressed fears that “legalizing recreational marijuana will have lasting negative effects on Ohio’s communities, schools, and workplaces.”

Key highlights from the proposed law include:

Possession Limits: Ohio residents aged 21 and over could possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis or 15 grams of extracts. Additionally, individuals could cultivate a maximum of six plants, with a household limit of 12 plants for residences with multiple adults.Product Availability: The proposed law would allow dispensaries to offer a broad spectrum of products including flowers, seeds, edibles, vapes, tinctures, and more.Taxation: Recreational marijuana would be subject to a 10% tax, with proceeds allocated to various state programs. By the fifth year of this initiative, projected revenues range from $276 million to $403 million.Regulation: The Department of Commerce’s Division of Cannabis Control would oversee the program, setting guidelines for licensing, product standards, and more.Licensing: Three license categories will be available: cultivator, processor, and dispensaries. Most licenses will initially go to businesses already operating in the medical cannabis sector.Social Equity Program: Aimed at supporting disadvantaged business owners, this program would provide grants, loans, and other assistance, along with waivers for at least 50% of licensing or application fees.Public Usage: Consuming marijuana in public spaces would result in a minor misdemeanor. Property owners retain the right to decide if cannabis consumption is permitted on their premises.Driving Under Influence: Driving while under the influence of marijuana remains prohibited. The existing OVI laws would apply to any violations.Age Limit: Only individuals 21 and older could purchase recreational cannabis.Employers and Landlords: Employers can maintain their own policies about marijuana usage. While landlords cannot discriminate based on marijuana consumption, they can include clauses in lease agreements prohibiting smoking or cultivation.

Presently, 23 states, alongside two territories and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana.

The upcoming vote will determine if Ohio joins this growing list, reflecting a broader national trend toward marijuana legalization.

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