States that have both a medical marijuana law and have removed jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana
2022 ballot campaign completes first phase of signature drive while the Ohio Legislature considers other cannabis policy reform proposals
Last update: December 21, 2021
In December, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, a 2022 ballot initiative campaign to legalize cannabis for adults, announced that it submitted 206,943 signatures to the Ohio Secretary of State — over 70,000 more than needed to meet the requirement for the first phase of the ballot initiative qualification process.
The Ohio Legislature has four months from the time the signatures are verified to approve the measure as it is currently written. If they do not, the campaign will have an opportunity to collect an additional 132,887 signatures from voters to place the measure on the November 2022 ballot. Read a summary of the 2022 ballot measure here. If you live in the state, please get involved and support the campaign by visiting the campaign’s website!
Meanwhile, the Ohio Legislature is considering several other cannabis reform measures, including a bill to improve the existing medical marijuana program by allowing doctors to recommend medical cannabis for any patient who can “reasonably be expected” to benefit from its use. The bill would also permit doctors to issue recommendations via telemedicine and make other changes to streamline regulations for the medical cannabis industry. The bill was approved overwhelmingly by the Ohio Senate in December.
Stay tuned for more updates on cannabis policy reform progress, and click here to sign up for Ohio-specific email updates from MPP.
2022 campaign forms to put adult-use legalization on the ballot
In late August, state officials certified a petition for circulation that would legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis for adults if approved in November 2022 by the voters of Ohio. The campaign, known as the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, has been cleared to collect the 133,000 signatures it needs from voters before the legislative session begins next year. If lawmakers reject the measure, the campaign will need to collect an additional 133,000 signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot. The petition would allow adults to possess and purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and grow up to six plants per individual at home (with no more than 12 plants per residence). Taxes from cannabis would support local governments, education, and public infrastructure. Read more about the 2022 legalization initiative.
Meanwhile, Ohio legislators are calling on fellow lawmakers to approve adult-use legalization. Like the 2022 voter initiative, the proposal would legalize limited amounts of cannabis for personal use. The proposal sponsored by Reps. Casey Weinstein and Terrence Upchurch would also allow for the expungement of past cannabis offenses.
Marijuana laws in Ohio
After MPP and other advocates in the state mobilized behind a ballot referendum, state lawmakers passed a law to establish a medical cannabis program for Ohioans in 2016. As of 2021, the program benefits roughly 100,000 registered patients throughout the state. For more information on Ohio’s medical marijuana program and access to patient forms and other resources, visit Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program’s website. And, for an overview of the current medical marijuana law, see our summary.
For individuals who are not registered as a medical marijuana patients, possession of less than 100 grams (or about 3.5 ounces), giving 20 grams or less of marijuana to another person, or growing less than 100 grams of marijuana are each considered “minor misdemeanors,” punishable by a maximum fine of $150. A minor misdemeanor is not a “jailable” offense, but a person’s driver’s license can be suspended for a period ranging from six months to five years.
In recent years, efforts to decriminalize marijuana possession at the local level in cities around Ohio have been met with success. During the 2020 Election, voters in four more Ohio cities approved cannabis decriminalization measures, joining 18 other municipalities in the state that have enacted similar initiatives. More and more Ohioans are ready for change and believe that marijuana should be legal for adults. They see that marijuana prohibition has failed and only undermines public health and safety. It’s time for Ohio to move forward, stop arresting people for marijuana, and adopt a sensible system of legalization.