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Ohio votes to legalize marijuana

Alton Northup
Medical marijuana products on display at Bliss Ohio, located at 331 E. Main St.

Voters approved a ballot proposal legalizing recreational marijuana Tuesday.

The passage of Issue 2, which permits adults age 21 and older to use, purchase and grow marijuana, makes Ohio the 24th state to allow adult cannabis use for nonmedical purposes. The proposal takes effect in 30 days. 

“Ohioans have seen how successful regulated markets have been in other states,” said Tom Haren, the spokesperson for the coalition Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which spearheaded the initiative.

Legally, Ohioans are now permitted to buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower and 15 grams of extract. The state will collect a 10% cannabis tax on adult-use sales at the time of each transaction. An Ohio State study projected potential annual tax revenue from adult-use cannabis in the state ranges from $276 million to $403 million in year five of operations. 

Of these funds, 3% would go to regulatory and administrative costs, 25% to drug prevention, 36% to municipalities allowing marijuana sales and 36% to social equity and jobs programs, according to the proposed statute.

However, because Issue 2 is a citizen-initiated statute, lawmakers can easily make changes to its language. In a statement released Tuesday after the Issue passed, Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) said the legislature should allocate tax revenue to county jail construction and law enforcement training.

With unofficial results reporting 56.97% of voters electing “Yes” on the issue, Haren said he does not anticipate the legislature overhauling the proposed language of the law. 

“From a political standpoint, it’d be very difficult, if not impossible, to go against the will of the voters,” Haren said. “Just on the merits of Issue 2, it won’t make sense to repeal it or to do any other funny business.”

The legalization of marijuana may have a minimal impact on college campuses. Universities that receive federal funds, such as Kent State, must adhere to guidelines prohibiting marijuana possession and use on campus. While university police will no longer make arrests for marijuana possession that follows Ohio Revised Code, officers can still make referrals to student conduct.

“If a student is found responsible, we tend to be educational, especially with a first or second time scenario,” said Todd Kamenash, the associate dean for conduct and community engagement. “It’ll be a very mix of things, but will almost always include some form of intentional educational opportunity, and it depends on how, you know, the frequency of the issue. If the person continues to violate the rule, then the sanctions escalate.”

Alton Northup is a staff reporter. Contact him at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Alton Northup, Campus Editor
Alton Northup is a junior majoring in journalism. This is his first semester as a campus editor, and he is excited to welcome new reporters to KentWired. He previously worked as a staff reporter. This past summer, he interned for The Chautauquan Daily in western New York. Contact him at [email protected]

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  • H

    HaleyNov 9, 2023 at 10:56 am

    Hi! Recreational cannabis sales will NOT start this December. The Department of Commerce has nine months to develop policies for recreational cannabis dispensaries, so we may not see recreational cannabis sales until the Fall of 2024. Just wanted to comment to clarify!

  • J

    Jason HarveyNov 9, 2023 at 7:35 am

    Thanks for sharing this amazing post! It’s important to note that the specific impact of marijuana legalization can vary significantly from one state to another, depending on the unique regulations and policies implemented. For the most accurate and recent information on Ohio’s decision to legalize marijuana, I recommend checking reliable news sources or official statements from Ohio’s state government.