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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Update: Recreational marijuana will join abortion rights on Ohio’s November ballot

A proposal to put legalization of adult use of marijuana in Ohio on the November ballot initially fell short of the number of signatures needed to make the statewide ballot, but backers were given an additional 10 days to secure the signatures. The Ohio Capital Journal reports proponents came back with nearly 10 times more than they needed, the signatures were verified, and the proposal will appear on the November 7 ballot.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, the proposal would allow Ohioans age 21 and older to buy and possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis and 15 grams of concentrates. In addition, it would allow individuals to grow as many as six plants but no more than 12 in a household with multiple adults. An analysis by Ohio State University researchers said if the proposal passes, tax revenue by the fifth year would range from $276 million to $403 million.

However, if the initiative passes, it will take some time before adults will be using marijuana in Ohio, let alone the state realizing any tax windfalls.

“I would say two, three, four years before the first adult-use sale happens in Ohio, even if it passes,” Perry Salzhauer, co-chair of the cannabis practice group for the McGlinchey Stafford law firm told the Ohio Capital Journal.

The proposal would join another high-profile item on Ohio’s November ballot as another initiative would determine if abortion and other reproductive rights, including fertility treatment and contraception, should be included in the state’s constitution. Since August’s special election, which centered largely on abortion rights, drove such huge turnout, Ohioans should expect November’s election to similarly generate a lot of voter interest.

“The failure of Issue 1 really, really is going to create a massive turnout in November and the people that I think would be likely to vote on that abortion issue would also be more likely to vote positively on the recreational marijuana issue,” said David Waxman, a Cleveland attorney with the law firm McGlinchey Stafford, told the Capital Journal.

A recent Suffolk University poll with a 4.4% margin of error showed 59% of Ohio voters support the proposed legislation with nearly three-quarters of Democrats, more than 60% of independent voters, and 40% of Republicans in favor.

The Associated Press reported that if the marijuana initiative passes, Ohio would become the 24th state to approve such a measure.

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