Ohio's recreational marijuana campaign still working despite delays and complications

Posted at 12:23 PM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 12:23:27-04

The campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio is still working through the process to put the issue on the ballot in November, despite delays and complications created by the coronavirus outbreak.

The group named Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol planned to start gathering signatures in the late winter and early spring to allow Ohio voters to legalize recreational marijuana through a Constitutional Amendment in November 2020.

On March 10, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office “rejected the summary language for a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would make changes to Ohio’s marijuana laws,” according to the office’s press release.

See News 5’s coverage of that effort here.

Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol General Counsel Tom Haren tells News 5 that the campaign is still working on reworking the petition language to address the Attorney General’s concerns and that the ballot effort has not been called off.

The ballot measure proposes that adults, 21 years and older, be allowed to grow up to six plants and have up to one ounce of marijuana. It would also create a program, under the Ohio Department of Commerce, where cultivation, processing, and testing facilities, along with retail stores, would be regulated by the state.

The campaign already has a plan for sales tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales:

  • 50% would go to the State Local Government Fund, Haren says, potentially offsetting cuts under Governor Kasich.
  • 25% would go to a special fund for the Commission on Expungement, Criminal Justice, Community Investment, and Cannabis Industry Equity and Diversity
  • 10% must be returned to municipal corporations where retail sales occurred in proportional amounts based upon sales taxes remitted