On Wednesday August 13th state officials announced that in November Ohioans will get the chance vote on a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana. Ohio will make history by becoming the first midwestern state and the fifth state overall (in addition to the District of Columbia) to legalize the recreational use of marijuana should the amendment pass. In addition to legalizing the use of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older the amendment will also legalize the use of medical marijuana and allow for limited amounts of home growing.
The amendment would also establish a marijuana control commission to regulate the growth, distribution, and sale of the drug within the state. The commission will select 10 locations throughout the state to become licensed growing operations. Taxwise the amendment will tax 15 percent of the gross revenues for the growing operations and 5 percent of the gross revenue from the recreational marijuana retail sales, plus the annual licensing fees which will allow marijuana to begin positively affecting the state budget.
The pro-marijuana group ResponsibleOhio is responsible for getting the measure on the upcoming ballot. The group needed 305,267 signatures for the measure to be put before the voters and they were able to get 320,267 signatures after initially coming up short to get the measure on the June ballot.
ResponsibleOhio Executive Director Ian James said in a statement, “It’s time for marijuana legalization in Ohio, and voters will have the opportunity to make it happen this November...Drug dealers don’t care about doing what’s best for our state and its citizens," James said. "By reforming marijuana laws in November, we’ll provide compassionate care to sick Ohioans, bring money back to our local communities and establish a new industry with limitless economic development opportunities.”