Ohio becomes 24th state to legalize recreational marijuana market
Ohio voters on Tuesday approved legalizing the cultivation and sale of recreational marijuana, paving the way for what is expected to become a multibillion-dollar market in the Midwest.
With about 53% of the votes tallied on Tuesday night, supporters of Issue 2 were winning, capturing 55.7% of the vote versus 44.3% against.
Ohio is the 24th state to legalize adult-use cannabis – in addition to Washington DC – after a contentious, yearslong process.
MJBizDaily forecasts adult-use sales could total $1.5 billion to $2 billion in the first year after the market launches and $3.5 billion to $4 billion by the fourth year.
“The results in Ohio show that cannabis legalization can win anytime and anywhere,” Matthew Schweich, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, told MJBizDaily via email Tuesday evening.
“To achieve victory in a non-presidential year in a red state shows just how strong public support for legalization has become.”
Ohio is the third state to legalize possession and recreational sales in 2023, following Delaware and Minnesota, which approved adult use through their legislatures.
Lawmakers in the state’s Republican-dominated General Assembly have vowed to make changes – and they have the authority to alter or even repeal any voter-approved initiatives.
Bipartisan support for marijuana reform in Ohio provides some industry momentum heading into the new year.
Vertically integrated multistate operators such as Acreage Holdings and Cresco Labs welcomed passage of adult use in Ohio – and the prospects of hundreds of thousands of new local customers and out-of-state shoppers.
Ohio has nearly 12 million residents – about three-quarters are older than 21 – so the legislation will vastly expand access to consumers beyond the 180,000 existing medical marijuana cardholders.
Ohio also borders five states, and of those, only Michigan has a recreational retail market.
“Today marks a significant turning point for Ohio and for the cannabis industry as a whole,” Acreage CEO Dennis Curran told MJBizDaily via email.
“This milestone vote is a testament to increased acceptance of cannabis use and the dismantling of long-time stigmas surrounding the plant.
“Acreage has successfully transitioned to adult-use sales in past new markets and looks forward to providing high-quality cannabis to medical and adult-use Ohio consumers alike.”
New York-based Acreage also operates five dispensaries in Ohio under The Botanist brand.
The law also allows: Level 1 and Level 2 marijuana license holders to expand cultivation and manufacturing operations. Adults to possess marijuana 30 days after passage. Home cultivators to grow six plants but no more than 12 per household.
Adult-use sales are subject to a 10% excise tax in addition to an existing 5.75% sales tax.
The measure also creates a state agency to develop and oversee recreational marijuana rules and regulations, which must be crafted within nine months.
Glasp is a social web highlighter that people can highlight and organize quotes and thoughts from the web, and access other like-minded people’s learning.