After Tuesday’s election, Ohio is the latest state to legalize adult-use cannabis despite opposition from Republican Governor Mike DeWine and several trade groups.
Voters approved State Issue 2 with 57% voting in favor and 43% against. The measure allows Ohioans 21 years or older to buy, possess, and grow cannabis up to certain limits. It also establishes the Division of Cannabis Control to regulate and license cannabis operators and facilities. The regulations give licensing priority to existing medical operators but will allow additional licensure to meet the needs of the market.
The measure also levies a 10% tax on cannabis sales but prevents local governments from implementing additional taxes on cannabis operators. Tax revenue is estimated to reach $300 million in the first year of legal sales.
Lawmakers in the state’s legislature have the authority to amend or repeal the initiative, and any legislative battle over amendments could delay implementation.
Four states (Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Oklahoma) rejected ballot proposals to legalize adult-use cannabis this year, after Maryland and Missouri approved similar proposals last November. Two other states (Delaware and Minnesota) legalized adult-use cannabis possession and sales this year through the legislative process. With the addition of Ohio, more than half of the U.S. population now live in a jurisdiction with legal adult-use cannabis.