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Ohio ballot features recreational marijuana issue

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Ohio voters will decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults on the 2023 general election ballot. Why it matters: Approval would make Ohio the 24th state to have legalized recreational use, superseding a medical marijuana program that has been in place and expanding since 2016. State of play: The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol organized the proposal, which would legalize cannabis for those 21 years and up. Read the initiative text.

  • Ohioans could possess up to 2.5 ounces in most forms and grow up to six plants at home per person, or a household max of 12 plants.

  • Sales would be taxed at 10%, with proceeds going toward regulating the program, funding communities hosting cannabis facilities, a "cannabis social equity and jobs fund" and addiction services.

By the numbers: Most Ohio voters (58.6%) favor legalization, per a July poll by USA Today Network/Suffolk University.

  • Support trends higher among younger respondents, with 76% of those ages 18-34 in support, compared with 43% of those 65 and up.

Yes, but: Legalization is not guaranteed in the long term, even if voters say yes.

  • Because this is a citizen-initiated statute, not a constitutional amendment, state lawmakers have the right to repeal or adjust the program after the election.

What they're saying: Republicans could feel emboldened to act against the public's wishes, with what they see as a favorable presidential election year approaching in 2024, says Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. Sponsored Content by FlexPoint Education Cloud Transformative Short-Term and Long-Term Measures to Alleviate Teacher Shortages Read more.

  • He expects similar voting patterns on the abortion and marijuana issues, with some potential differences among suburban and religious voters who support one but not the other.

  • Kondik also described a "sea change" of public opinion in favor of marijuana legalization that mirrors the support for same-sex marriage, particularly among younger generations.

The other side: State Senate President Matt Huffman and Gov. Mike DeWine oppose legalization, with the governor calling it "a mistake." Be smart: Watch a Spectrum News 1 and Columbus Dispatch forum on the issue, featuring voices in support and opposition.


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