Ohioans have voted to legalize recreational marijuana.
Ohio Republicans look to make changes day after
Ohioans vote to legalize adult use of cannabis.
(See articles below)
Another WIN! Issue 2 to Commercialize, Regulate, Legalize and Tax the Adult Use Cannabis
will become law in Ohio on December 7, 2023, thirty days
after the November 7th General Election.
Issue 2 won statewide by 56.97% YES and 43.03% NO.
In Erie County, Issue 2 passed by 58.63% YES and 41.37% NO.
Rep. Gary Click, R-Vickery, recently introduced House Bill 341 —
which would change how the revenue funds would be allocated and
allow municipalities to ban marijuana dispensaries and home grow.
The bill wipes out an entire section of the law that prohibits municipalities
from banning home grow, marijuana use and
levying special taxes or fees on marijuana businesses.
Another bill – HB354 – also makes changes to Issue 2 legislation.
It is apparent Ohio Republicans can’t agree on what to change.
Stay informed on what the Ohio Republicans plan even though voters
overwhelmingly passed the new law this past November 7, 2023 – General Election.
- Ohio Senate eyes changing the new marijuana legislation law by early December | cleveland.com | Jeremy Pelzer and Laura Hancock | 11.15.2023
- Ohio voters approved a new recreational marijuana law. Why can the Legislature change it? | Dispatch.com | Haley BeMiller | 11.30.2023
- New bill by Ohio Republican lawmaker would change Ohio’s marijuana law | Ohio Capital Journal | Megan Henry | 12.01.2023
- Ohio senators want to make major changes to marijuana law OK’d by voters, ax home grow | Cincinnati Enquirer | Jessie Balmert | 12.04.2023
- GOP lawmakers in House, Senate divided on allowing Ohioans to grow marijuana at home | Cincinnati Enquirer | Jessie Balmert | 12.05.2023
- Sneaky Ohio Republican senators disrespect voters with rushed marijuana amendment | Columbus Dispatch | Amelia Robinson | 12.05.2023
- Recreational marijuana is now legal in Ohio. Here’s what you need to know | Dispatch.com | Haley BeMiller | 12.07.2023
The Act would enact Chapter 3780 (“Chapter”) of the Ohio Revised Code regarding adult use cannabis control to authorize and regulate the cultivation, processing, sale, purchase, possession, home grow, and use of adult use cannabis by adults at least twenty-one years of age (“adult use consumers”).
- Summary and Full Text (PDF)(opens in a new window)
- Ballot Board Certification Letter August 30, 2021 (PDF)(opens in a new window)
- Attorney General Certification Letter September 3, 2021 (PDF)(opens in a new window)
- Unique Supplemental Petition Form January 3, 2022 (PDF)(opens in a new window)
- Unique Supplemental Petition Form July 25, 2023 (PDF)
What would this do?
Under the proposed law, Ohioans age 21 and older could possess 2.5 ounces
of cannabis in any form except extract and 15 grams of extract.
They could also grow up to six plants individually and no more than
12 in a household with multiple adults.
How would it be taxed?
Products would be taxed 10% on top of Ohio’s sales tax.
The revenue would go toward a cannabis social equity and jobs program,
municipalities with dispensaries, a state fund to combat substance abuse and administrative costs.
Could you smoke in public?
That’s a little murky at this point.
Under the proposal, using marijuana in “public areas”
would land someone with a minor misdemeanor.
But it also says property owners and “any public place” could decide
for themselves whether to allow or ban marijuana use.
Will the Legislature repeal it?
Since Issue 2 is an initiated statute, lawmakers are free
to change or toss out the version that voters approve.
But even though GOP leaders disapprove of recreational marijuana,
a total repeal seems unlikely.
They may instead look at the revenue distribution or impose additional requirements.
A quick side note: If Issue 2 passes, the Division of Cannabis Control
will hash out specific program rules within the new law.
What does Issue 2 say about driving with marijuana?
The proposed statute bars people from driving a car, bike, boat or airplane while impaired by marijuana. Passengers would be prohibited from smoking or vaping in the vehicle. The state’s current OVI laws would apply to anyone who violates those rules. To request a field sobriety test, police must have “an independent, factual basis giving reasonable suspicion” that the person is driving under the influence or has too much marijuana in their system. The legal use of adult cannabis alone would not be enough to justify a sobriety test or to suspend someone’s license.
How many marijuana OVIs is Ohio seeing now?
The number of OVI arrests involving marijuana have decreased in recent years, according to Ohio State Highway Patrol data, mirroring an overall decline in OVIs. Ohio saw 622 marijuana-only OVI arrests last year and another 647 involving marijuana and other drugs, compared to 1,387 and 999 in 2019. Ohio legalized medical marijuana in 2016. Lt. Nathan Dennis said marijuana is present more often in fatal crashes related to OVIs. The number of drug-induced crashes increased 41% from 2019 to last year, while crashes involving alcohol and drugs jumped 20%. The state patrol data do not specify what kind of drugs were found in those cases.
Using 2022 crash statistics and research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, law enforcement groups opposing Issue 2 projected fatal accidents in Ohio would increase by 48 and injury crashes by 2,298 if the measure passes. Those are 4.1% and 5.8% increases, respectively.
What happened in other states?
Researchers have conducted studies to assess the effect of marijuana on road safety. A recent review of existing literature identified more studies that pointed to negative consequences, such as an uptick in accidents and the number of drivers testing positive for THC. At the same time, several other papers did not point to an increase in accidents or hospital visits. One study challenged the causal effect of marijuana on traffic fatalities and determined control states saw similar trends as Colorado and Washington.
Researchers tend to look at those two states because they were the first in the nation to legalize adult-use marijuana. Washington saw more fatal crashes involving THC-positive drivers after the market launched in 2014, but the numbers have largely remained stable aside from a peak in 2020, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. In 2021, over 80% of drivers who tested positive for THC also had alcohol or other drugs in their system. Colorado has seen an increase in marijuana-related DUIs, and more than half of the citations in 2020 included alcohol, as well. That same year, 20% of drivers and 24% of operators (which includes pedestrians, bicyclists and passengers) involved in traffic deaths tested positive for THC.
Does marijuana testing prove impairment?
Proponents of Issue 2 and other experts say statistics don’t tell the full story. For starters, they argue, correlation does not equal causation, and states that legalize marijuana tend to test for it more frequently. “It’s very hard to capture real precise data here,” said Doug Berman, executive director of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at Ohio State University. “If it was a no-brainer that legalization made the roads a lot more dangerous, we would know that, and that’s not what the evidence shows.”
Since marijuana stays in the body longer than alcohol, testing positive doesn’t necessarily mean impairment. The drug’s effects − and how long it sticks around − also depend on metabolism, frequency of use and other factors. In regular users, such as medical cannabis patients, urine tests pick up marijuana up to 30 days after consumption.
Michigan piloted a roadside saliva test for marijuana, but other states − including Ohio − largely rely on blood or urine tests. Those happen after police make an arrest, though. Before that, Dennis said, state troopers look for signs of impairment on the road and conduct field sobriety tests. They won’t know for sure until later which drugs, or how much of them, are in a person’s system.
Tom Haren, a spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, said the proposed law will still penalize people for driving while high. It also provides tax revenue to municipalities with dispensaries, which Haren said they could use to train local police as drug recognition experts.
“It gets back to regulating marijuana just like alcohol,” Haren said. “Drivers don’t get pulled over because they have consumed alcohol at some point in their life. You get an OVI based on being impaired.”
- Cannabis advocates remain hopeful about legalization as Ohio Republicans look to make changes | Ohio Capitol Journal | Megan Henry | 11.09.2023
- What to know about November ballot issue to legalize recreational marijuana | The Dispatch | Haley BeMiller | 10.25.2023
- Michigan marijuana shops make money off Ohio consumers. Issue 2 could change that | The Dispatch | Haley BeMiller | 10.25.2023
- Who’s behind Ohio Issue 2? Marijuana businesses that will benefit from it | The Dispatch | Haley BeMiller | 10.25.2023
- Does recreational marijuana make roads less safe? | The Dispatch | Haley BeMiller | 10.25.2023
- Ohio recreational marijuana issue to go before voters in November | The Dispatch | Haley BeMiller – Cincinnati Enquirer | 8.16.2023
- See who is opposing the effort to legalize marijuana in Ohio | The Dispatch | Jessie Balmert
Cincinnati Enquirer | 8.15.2023
For information about November 7th, 2023 – General Election,
please visit here.