November 7, 2023 08:00 am ETEstimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
Ohio voters will get the chance to vote on recreational cannabis legalization this November. Ohio’s secretary of state announced the legalization initiative has gathered the 127,772 signatures needed to put it on the ballot. If passed, Ohio will join twenty-three U.S. states and Washington DC with recreational cannabis.
The legislation allows adults 21+ to purchase and hold about 2.5 ounces of cannabis and 15 grams of concentrates. The bill would also legalize home growing for those 21+. All retail cannabis sales will come with a 10% tax. The tax money will fund addiction treatment programs, social equity, job programs, municipalities with dispensaries, and other administrative expenses.
The coalition filed the request to regulate marijuana just like alcohol back in July but was short of about 700 signatures. Nonetheless, the state secretary’s 10-day extension gave them sufficient time to gather the rest of the signatures required. After the feat, Frank LaRose, the Secretary of State, said, “In the absence of judicial direction to the contrary, I will direct the boards of elections to place the proposed law on the November 7, 2023 General Election ballot.”
Tom Haren, the spokesperson for the coalition, expressed his gratitude for the success of the legalization effort. He said, “This is a testament to the hard work of our campaign and the support of Ohio voters who are ready for common-sense marijuana reform.”
Advocates for the petition have worked tirelessly for over a year to accomplish this result despite the resistance of the GOP-ruled legislation to the request. The petition was first submitted in January 2022, with lawmakers given four months to act. Republican legislators voiced their intention to not vote the bill into law. Other lawmakers also claimed that the petition signatures were the reason the petition couldn’t make the ballot in 2022. The coalition eventually sued, and in a settlement, they agreed to delay the process till 2023.
Haren explained that the legalization effort isn’t groundbreaking; rather, he said, “We’re just trying to get Ohio in line with neighbors like Michigan and Illinois.”
Still, groups like Protect Ohio Workers and Families are lining up to kill the initiative. The group is made up of Republican leaders, police, and children’s hospitals. Its members include the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, the Buckeye Sheriffs Association, the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, and the Ohio Veterans First.
Public Opinion On Cannabis Legalization
Amidst the opposition to the cannabis legislation, a USA TODAY Network/Suffolk University poll asked Ohioans what they thought about the issue. 58.6% of those polled said they approved of the residents said they approved cannabis legalization. 35% meanwhile, disapproved of legalization and the remaining 6% were undecided.
Haren explained to WSOU Public Media “We expect that our proposal is going to pass with a mandate from Ohio voters that we want to follow in the footsteps of the other half of the United States that have legalized and regulated marijuana since 2013.”
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There is an expectation that the cannabis legalization movement will allow for further marijuana reforms. Brian Vincente, a founding partner of a cannabis and psychedelics law firm in Ohio, Vincente LLP, expressed his optimism. He explained that:
“The significance of Ohio’s pending vote on legalization cannot be overstated. Ohio has long been considered the political bellwether for the country. If Ohio supports this measure, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the country joins the over two dozen states with adult-use legalization.”
Benefits Of Having Your Ohio Medical Marijuana Card
There is plenty of hope that recreational legalization will eventually become a reality in Ohio. However, If you have your Ohio medical marijuana card, you can access medical cannabis from a wide range of available dispensaries. As a registered marijuana patient, you can buy products like cannabis flowers, vape cartridges, and edibles without restriction.
Some other benefits that come with having your medical card, include:
Access to High-Quality Cannabis Products
With your medical marijuana card, you’ll get the best of every strain of cannabis. Ohio’s medical control program only allows the sale of tested and standard marijuana plants and infused products.
Your Ohio medical marijuana card indicates that you have the right to hold, buy, and consume cannabis within the state. If you have an encounter with law enforcement agents because you have some weed in your possession, you can show them your card to stay safe. However, make sure you only use medical cannabis as allowed by the law.
On a Final Note
If you have a condition that qualifies you for a medical marijuana card in Ohio, Veriheal is here to make it simple for you. All you need to do is prepare your medical history and book an appointment with our licensed doctors. If approved, you’ll get your card within 72 hours. Get started with Veriheal today to get your Ohio medical marijuana card.
Mary Ekundayo is a passionate cannabis writer and entrepreneur with a love for all things literary. When she's not creating content, you can find Mary lost in the pages of a captivating book or meditating to set the tone for her day.
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