Ohioians have shown their support for the cannabis culture after voting to approve the recreational use of cannabis in November. This development comes six months after Minnesota legalized the adult use of marijuana, making Ohio the 24th U.S. state to pass the same law. Despite opposition from mostly the Republican legislative body, Issue 2 was successful, which was undeniably a progressive move for the state.
If you don’t understand the new rec program in Ohio, then you’re not alone. In this article, we’ll examine the nitty-gritty of the legislation. You’ll also discover the freedom that now exists and the changes that this new development will bring to Ohio. Let’s get started!
Many people have expressed their delight with the election results in Ohio. The co-founder and chief scientific officer at CannDelta Inc., Lucas McCann, applauded the results of the votes. He said, “This step towards cannabis legalization signifies a progressive shift and the beginning of a chapter for the state, reflecting the shifting perceptions of cannabis across America.” He further explained that “Ohioans will soon see a bolstered state economy, increased job opportunities, and tax revenue that can be reinvested in Ohio’s aging infrastructure like schools and hospitals.”
The passage of Issue 2 in Ohio means that adults who are 21 years and above can buy and hold about 2.5 ounces (70.8 grams) of weed. They can also own about 15 grams of cannabis concentrate and grow the plant in their residence. However, a 10% tax imposition is expected, which will be used in the industry for the cannabis facilities fund (36%), marijuana social equity and jobs fund (36%), addiction treatment (25%), and administrative costs (3%).
Under the cannabis social equity initiative, certain weed cultivation and dispensary licenses will be set aside for individuals in communities that were negatively affected by Ohio’s marijuana laws.
Although the passage of Issue 2 signifies the forward-thinking mindset of Ohians, it doesn’t yet deal with records of weed-related offenses. According to a senior communications associate at Last Project Prisoner (LPP), a nonprofit organization that seeks to provide freedom for incarcerated cannabis offenders, “The fight for justice extends beyond legalization; it demands a commitment to right the wrongs of the past, ensuring that those unjustly burdened by cannabis convictions find redress and freedom.”
The freedom to use recreational marijuana doesn’t have explicit protections when it comes to employers and employees because of the Rights of Employers. For example, an employer is not compelled to permit an employee’s possession or use of cannabis. An employer also has the right to discharge, discipline, or refuse to hire an individual who uses or distributes marijuana.
All these laws still hold despite recreational weed legalization in Ohio because the substance remains illegal according to federal legislation. However, employers are encouraged but not compelled to adjust their procedures and policies in light of the recent development.
According to the new law, Ohioans can cultivate marijuana for personal use in their home. However, an adult is allowed to grow up to six plants, while a household can collectively grow a maximum of 12 plants.
The possession, use, and home cultivation of weed for recreational use takes effect from December 7. Also, regulatory bodies can start giving retail licenses towards the end of 2024. Nonetheless, further legislative and regulatory requirements will be defined as time goes on.
The Division of Cannabis Control will be responsible for regulating the sales and commercial production of cannabis products. As defined by the state, they have the authority to “license, regulate, investigate, and penalize adult-use cannabis operators, adult-use testing laboratories, and individuals required to be licensed.”
The legalization of the adult use of marijuana is set to have a positive impact on Ohio’s economy as a whole. According to MJBizDaily projections, the state is likely to hit a market worth about $2 billion within a year and about $4 billion within four years. A public benefit of up to $260 million annually is also expected.
Despite the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, you cannot purchase cannabis from a dispensary without your med card. It might still take up to nine months for the Ohio Department of Commerce to allow people to walk in to make a purchase. Until all the rules and regulations are in place, dispensaries can only attend to people with a medical marijuana card. To ensure they still have access to the necessary medical treatment, the Medical Marijuana Control Program has advised cannabis caregivers and patients to keep their cards active till the pending rec rules and regulations are well defined.
Other benefits of having a med card include:
As it stands, you can only get a med card if you are at least 18, and a resident of Ohio who is affected by one of the medical marijuana qualifying conditions. Some of these conditions include Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, chronic pain, chronic migraines, Parkinson’s disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Also, you’ll need to be certified by an approved Ohio marijuana card doctor.
There are concerns that Republican lawmakers might seek marijuana policy reforms despite Issue 2’s success at the polls. Ohio’s Senate President Matt Huffman has already stated regarding the legislation that he would “advocate for reviewing it and repealing things or changing things that are in it” if Ohioans vote for marijuana legislation.
Although the stakes are higher for them, the Republicans still have the power to tweak or overturn the law down the line. Also, the recreational cannabis measure is still defined as a ballot initiative rather than a constitutional amendment. So, what does the future hold? Well, no one knows. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed and stay updated on any developments that might come up.