Last evening, voters in Ohio approved a ballot proposal, Issue 2, to legalize adult-use cannabis, trouncing voters in opposition to the measure. Last night’s outcome makes Ohio the 24th state to allow adult-cannabis, 14 of which have done so by way of a public vote.
Per the new legislation, adults ages 21 and up can legally buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and grow plants at home—up to six plants per person and 12 plants per residence, where at least two adults reside. A 10% tax will be imposed on cannabis purchases and will go toward administrative costs, addiction treatment, municipalities with dispensaries, and social equity and jobs programs.
With the news comes the realization that the United States is just one state away from legalizing adult-use pot in 50% of all states. NORML notes, however, that legal cannabis has already tipped the scale in terms of population—a significant milestone in the process of loosening cannabis laws in America.
“Today, for the first time since the federal government initiated federal cannabis prohibition in 1937, more people live in a place where marijuana is state-legal than reside somewhere where it isn’t,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano told High Times. “It borders on political malpractice for elected officials, and for Republican lawmakers especially, to sit on the sidelines at a time when more Americans than ever are demanding action.”
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine spoke out against the measure, and members of the GOP-led Ohio Senate passed a resolution urging voters in vain to reject the initiative. Senate President Matt Huffman also expressed his intent to “revisit” provisions of the new law and propose legislative changes, essentially threatening to repeal adult-use provisions.
Despite those efforts, the voting outcome provided a comfortable margin for those in favor of legal pot: Per the New York Times election results tracker, 57% of voters approved Issue versus just 43% of voters who opposed the legislation.
The voting outcome isn’t exactly a surprise. The measure was an effort put forth by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. Prior to last night’s vote, the organization raised over three times the amount of money raised by the opposition group, Protect Ohio Workers and Families.
Business React to Ohio’s Adult-Use Cannabis Law
NORML added that retail cannabis products will be taxed at 10% and sales are anticipated to generate between $276.2 million to $403.6 million in annual cannabis tax dollars by the fifth year of sales. A separate analysis estimates that the law will provide 3,300 new jobs in the first year after legalization.
With the news comes new opportunities in a new state market. Several cannabis insiders relayed their statements to High Times:
“Today marks another historic moment for the cannabis industry and for Ohio, as voters have chosen to end Prohibition 2.0 in the Buckeye State,” said Ben Kovler, CEO of Green Thumb Industries. “This vote is not just about legalization; it’s a recognition that Americans are continuing to embrace cannabis for well-being.”
“At Green Thumb, we are eager to support the people of Ohio in this next phase of cannabis. Having operated multiple medical dispensaries in Ohio since 2019 and supported several adult-use transitions in other markets, we are excited to serve even more of the community, fostering positive impacts and education around the plant. We celebrate and congratulate Ohio on becoming the 24th state to legalize adult-use cannabis.”
Green Thumb Industries answered questions on social media, such as “Will there be any changes to medical cannabis patients.” (The answer is there should be no impact as of now.)
LeafLink serves 30 markets across the U.S., including Ohio. “We commend the voters of Ohio for their decision to legalize recreational cannabis in the Buckeye State, said LeafLink Director of Policy Rodney Holcombe. “This vote presents a tremendous opportunity for the state where legal adult-use sales are projected to exceed $1 billion annually. This move puts Ohio in league with 23 other states that have taken this significant stride forward. We have witnessed firsthand the positive impact of legalized cannabis, including job creation, tax revenue for vital government services, and unique business opportunities for entrepreneurs. We urge Ohio officials to promptly enact the law, allowing their constituents to reap these benefits without delay.”
Timeless produces concentrates in the form of vape products, with operations in Ohio as well. “The vote to legalize cannabis in Ohio is a huge win for consumers who have let their voices be heard, as well as a win for the state with the potential to bring in $260M in additional tax revenue, and for operators like Timeless who will be able to serve a wider demographic,” said Joshua Hirschey, President at Timeless Refinery. “Timeless has always been focused on building community through cannabis culture, and with adult use legalization we will be able to connect with our customers in Ohio in a more meaningful way. We look forward to the market beginning its transition to adult use and we will be there for our Ohio community once it does.”
BDSA is a leading provider of market intelligence for the cannabis industry, with eyes currently on Ohio. “In recent years, the Midwest has become a thriving hub for the cannabis industry and Ohio is rapidly emerging as a promising market,” said Roy Bingham, co-founder and chief executive officer of BDSA. “Ohio’s unique regulatory environment and the increasing acceptance of medical cannabis underline the significance of this market, and BDSA is committed to providing the insights needed to navigate its evolving landscape.”
Issue 1, Ohio’s bill designed to protect the right to abortion, also was approved.
Provisions in the law legalizing the possession and home cultivation of marijuana by adults take effect on Dec. 7.