A ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use was approved by Ohio voters on 7 November, 2023. As a result, the state has become the 24th in the country to follow suit in a trend that is expanding into more conservative regions.
The legalization in Ohio has also unlocked a projected billion-dollar market in the United States.
Ohio has allowed medical marijuana use since 2016. However, voters just approved Issue 2, which would allow adults 21 and older to purchase, use, and cultivate marijuana. The proposal will be incorporated into Ohio’s revised code in 30 days, but in the upcoming months, some state legislators intend to amend those regulations.
In this blog, we will delve into laws and market opportunities in Ohio.
Ohio Cannabis Market Size
BDSA forecasts that the adult-use cannabis market will start in 2025 and generate $300 million in sales in that segment. According to BDSA projections, total sales of cannabis will reach $820 million in 2025 and reach $1.65 billion in 2027, making Ohio the state with the fastest-growing legal cannabis industry in the United States.
Cannabis Recreational Laws In Ohio
- Allow lawful possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and 15 grams of concentrate to persons who are 21 years of age or older.
- Permit up to six plants per individual and up to twelve plants in a residence comprising multiple adults to be grown at home.
- Charge all cannabis sales with a 10% tax.
- No individual may hold more than eight dispensary licenses or more than one cultivator license simultaneously.
Cannabis for adult-use is legal now in Ohio, however, the law does not prevent employers from implementing drug testing programs, terminating workers, or rejecting candidates who test positive for drugs.
Additionally, marijuana will continue to be prohibited from being consumed in public or in cars, much like alcohol, and the rules prohibiting drunk driving will still be upheld.
When Will The Regulation Go Into Effect In Ohio?
The regulations will go into effect within one month following election day. It will also undergo a planning and rule-making phase.
Issue 2 establishes the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Cannabis Control. The division is going to be responsible for setting up the details of where and how marijuana will be sold in Ohio.
The Division of Cannabis Control will be given nine months to formulate a plan and begin issuing the first licenses.
Will Ohio Still Have A Medical Marijuana Program?
Yes. Patients and caregivers are encouraged to maintain the active status of their patient or caregiver card as the DCC will still be administering the Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP).
Being a patient in the MMCP guarantees that the patient is seeing a physician regarding their qualifying condition and that they will continue to have access to medical marijuana at dispensaries that are already in operation. Additionally, as per the approved statute, MMCP patient purchases are exempt from the 10% excise tax imposed on non-medical sales once non-medical marijuana sales commence.
Can You Use Marijuana In Public
No, a petty misdemeanor is charged against a non-medical cannabis user who consumes marijuana in public places, according to the initiated statute. And Ohio’s rule against vaping or smoking in public indoor areas also applies to marijuana.
What Types Of Recreational Marijuana Will Be Sold At A Cannabis Store?
The approved legislation permits dispensaries to sell the following non-medical cannabis products:
- plant material and seeds/live plants
- cannabis plant clones
- smoking or combustible product
- vaporization of product
- oral pouches/oral strips/oral and topical sprays
While dispensaries are being licensed, which is anticipated to take several months after the legislation takes effect on December 7, recreational marijuana won’t be accessible for purchase until 2024.
It is anticipated that the recently established Division of Cannabis Control will establish guidelines for the program and issue up to 40 additional licenses for smaller cannabis growers and up to 50 licenses for adult-use cannabis dispensaries within the next nine months. The Cannabis Social Equity and Jobs Program participants will receive priority when applying for those new licenses under the new law.
All of the state’s current medical marijuana facilities, including cultivators, processors, and testers, will receive licenses suitable for non-medical marijuana use. The current medical marijuana cultivators in the state will also receive one or three licenses to run dispensaries, depending on their size.