While there has been a great deal of attention given to the abortion rights amendment on Ohio’s ballot, voters are being asked another big question: whether they want to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
The proposed statute is not that much different from the ones in the 23 states that have passed marijuana legalization laws. It would allow Ohioans age 21 and older to buy and possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis and would allow people to grow up to six plants individually, but no more than 12 in a household with multiple adults.
Products would be taxed 10 percent, with revenue going toward administrative costs, addiction treatment programs, municipalities with dispensaries, and a social equity and jobs program. One study found that legalizing marijuana would add about $260 million annually to the Ohio economy.
A poll conducted by Ohio Northern University showed support for marijuana legalization hitting about 65 percent.
Medical marijuana has been legal in Ohio since 2016, and nearby states such as Michigan and New York have recently legalized recreational marijuana. (Medical marijuana is also legal in 37 other states.) Ohio has also been more tolerant of marijuana use historically than most states. A seed strain known as “Meigs County Gold,” grown near Ohio University in Athens, has long been a successful cash crop for the southeast part of the state.
Political observers say that having both abortion and recreational marijuana on the ballot, without a party candidate, may get people from both parties to agree on these measures.
“The fact that these are issue elections, and there is no party officially tied to each of the ballot measures, that probably helps both of those issues,” Robert Alexander, the founding director of the Institute for Civics and Public Policy at Ohio Northern University, said in a recent interview in The New Republic.