Columbus, OH — On Tuesday, Ohioans approved Issue 2, a ballot measure to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis for adults’ use in Ohio. With 54% of the votes counted, Issue 2 was ahead by 55.6% to 44.4%.
Ohio is the 24th state to legalize cannabis for adult use and the 14th state to do so through a ballot question approved by voters. The passage of Issue 2 in Ohio also means that a majority of Americans now live in a state where cannabis is legal for adults.
“This is a great day for Ohio, which now joins the growing number of conservative-leaning states that have ended the injustice of cannabis prohibition,” said Matthew Schweich, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “Our organization is proud to have been a member of a strong coalition of groups that advanced common sense cannabis policy for the people of Ohio by supporting Issue 2. This victory represents the culmination of a years-long effort, as MPP also played a pivotal role in the passage of Ohio’s medical cannabis law in 2015."
Once the measure is certified on December 7, adults 21 and older can possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis, including up to 15 grams of concentrate, and securely grow up to six plants. Legal sales are anticipated to begin in 2024. Issue 2 also allocates funding to establish a social equity and jobs program, and to study expungement and sentencing reform. More details of the new law can be found here.
“There should no longer be any doubt that cannabis legalization can win in a conservative state,” added Schweich. “In the years ahead, more states will adopt legalization and further increase pressure on Congress to address the glaring conflicts between state and federal law regarding cannabis.”
With the addition of Ohio, a majority of U.S. residents (52.6%) now live in legalization states. Gallup polls show that a supermajority of American voters (68%) agree that cannabis use should be legal, including 70% of independents and 51% of Republicans.
MPP was a major financial supporter of the Issue 2 campaign in Ohio. The organization’s involvement in Ohio cannabis reform efforts dates back to 2015, when MPP joined forces with local advocates to spearhead a ballot initiative campaign to enact medical cannabis, which spurred the legislature to enact the state’s medical cannabis law.