Will the legislature act?
In July of 2021, The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted a complete proposed law for the usage and cultivation of recreational marijuana in Ohio. The Ohio Attorney General originally rejected the initiative because it didn’t include a “fair and truthful statement of the proposed law.” In August, 2021, the group submitted a revised version. They had around 200,000 signatures in support of the petition, while only around 119,000 of them were determined to be viable signatures.
The petition proposes that adults in Ohio age 21 and older have the ability to buy and possess up to 71 grams of marijuana and grow up to 6 plants per person for recreational use.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana came back on January 28, 2022, with 30,000 more signatures. With these new signatures, the Secretary of State announced that there are now enough valid signatures submitted for the Ohio Legislature to take up the measure.
From January 28, 2022, the Ohio Legislature has four months to act on the proposed law. While the Governor of Ohio has the ability to sign the bill if approved, it looks like there will be an uphill battle due to Mike Dewine’s aversion to recreational marijuana.
There is also a possibility that the Legislature won't act on the bill within the next four months. If the bill isn't touched, it will be placed on the ballot this November for Ohioans to vote on for the first time in 7 years. While Issue 3 in 2015 was a proposed amendment for the Ohio Constitution, the current initiative is not. The 2015 proposed amendment was not nearly as comprehensive in its detail as the current proposal, and was likely rejected by voters in part who didn't want this type of law to become a part of the Ohio Constitution in the same way casinos did.
According to a survey conducted on U.S. adults by Pew Research Center in 2021, around 60% of Americans nationwide believe that marijuana should be legalized for medical and recreational purposes, while around 31% believe that marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes. Only 8% of American adults believe that marijuana shouldn’t be legal at all.
While 63% of Ohio voters were against the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2015 by Constitutional amendment, statistics show that more Americans have been supportive of the legalization of recreational marijuana in recent years. It is possible that Ohio voters' opinions toward the issue have changed. If the Ohio Legislature doesn’t act on the bill, it will be up to Ohio voters to decide whether or not recreational marijuana should be legalized.
Make your opinion known by contacting your state legislators, or by voting in November.