Ohio Marijuana Legalization

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On November 3, 2015, the Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative will make its way onto the state’s voting ballot. If approved by voters, this initiative would create an amendment to the state’s constitution legalizing the medical and recreational use of marijuana for anyone over the age of 21.

The amendment, if passed, would establish a clear set of rules regarding medical and recreational use. A recreational user would be permitted to possess up to one ounce of the drug or less at a time. A user who chooses to grow marijuana at home for personal use would be required to obtain a license to cultivate, and he or she would be allowed to grow up to four flowering plants at one time. Medical marijuana use would require a doctor’s note.

This initiative would effectively establish a full marijuana industry in the Buckeye State, creating ten Marijuana Growth, Cultivation and Extraction (MGCE) facilities where all the state’s medical and recreational marijuana would be cultivated and produced. The initiative would require MSGE facilities to sell medical marijuana to dispensaries at the lowest wholesale price. The amendment would also create the Ohio Marijuana Control Commission, to regulate cannabis production, chemistry, sales and taxation.

Marijuana retail stores in Ohio would be limited to one for every 10,000 Ohio residents. Store locations would need to be approved by voters in municipalities seeking to open them, and would need to be located at least 1,000 feet from any childcare facilities, churches, libraries, schools, or playgrounds.

According to the amendment, all MGCE facilities would pay a flat 15 percent tax on all profits. All marijuana retail stores would pay a flat tax of 5 percent. Tax revenue from legal marijuana would be divided up between the Municipal and Township Government Stabilization Fund (55 percent) the Strong County Fund (30 percent) and the Marijuana Control Commission Fund (15 percent).

The amendment would explicitly establish the criminalization of transferring marijuana to a minor, hiring a minor to work at any marijuana retail establishment, and operating a vehicle under the influence of marijuana. It would not require employers to accommodate their employees’ use of medical or recreational marijuana.