Cannabis Legalization in Ohio is Coming Soon

ohio recreational cannabis

Is cannabis legal in Ohio? Cannabis tourists take note! Ohio recreational cannabis legalization is likely coming soon. The state currently has two strong pathways: one which follows the line of a traditional legislative method as House Bill 382, and another via an initiated statute by a group called Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol. Similarities between these two options include the legalization of cannabis possession for anyone 21 years and older for personal use, as well as potentially creating a new substantial tax revenue stream. Broken out, the proposed legislation allows for cannabis cultivation and possession, expunges certain cannabis-related convictions, and establishes a tax on cannabis products, while the initiated statute creates the Division of Cannabis Control in the Ohio Department of Commerce for Regulation, which allows medical cultivators and dispensaries to expand into the adult-use market, and creates a Social Equity and Jobs Fund with 36% of the tax on cannabis products.

Republican Support for Ohio Cannabis Legalization

Additionally in the works is legislation from an uncommon source: traditionally conservative Republican Rep. Jamie Callender. The proposed legislation for the legalization of cannabis in Ohio, which is pending filing, would levy a 10% tax on retail sales. Under the proposal, a quarter of the cannabis-derived tax revenues would fund police purchases of equipment to detect impaired drivers, and another quarter would be used for addiction and recovery programs. The remaining half would not be earmarked, which would allow funds to be used during precarious economic times, Callender recently told the Associated Press.

Cannabis certainly has a home here. Medical cannabis has proven so popular within the Buckeye State that the licensing process for the state’s next 73 provisional medical cannabis dispensary licenses has been released. The license application window will be held from November 4-18, 2021, and each license carries an application fee of $5,000. To qualify for a license, applicants must have local zoning approval, a dispensary location already secured, and must submit a site plan. License winners will be chosen by lottery and the license expansion in any of the 31 dispensary districts will be approved according to the number of “available provisional licenses” in that district. Licensees are limited to owning a maximum of five dispensaries. If all 73 licenses are awarded, Ohio could have 130 medical cannabis dispensaries.

Non-Traditional Dispensaries in Ohio

Dispensary drive-through windows will also be acceptable under the state-released regulations. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy approved this expansion in April. The Board felt the expansion necessary due to the number of registered patients far exceeding initial estimates. Of the original 60 dispensary licenses, only 57 have been approved to date. The state planned dispensaries for between 12,000 and 24,000 patients registering over a two-year period. When April the expansion was approved, there were 92,772 registered patients in Ohio. The Board believes each dispensary can serve up to 600 patients. In turn, activists hope by increasing the number of dispensaries, Ohio’s high medical cannabis prices will fall. A 2020 survey of Ohio patients found 58.4% believed high medical cannabis prices were an issue for the program.

Citizen Support for Ohio Legalization

Overall, citizens of Ohio are manifesting their support of cannabis legalization in multiple ways. Currently, 22 jurisdictions across the state have adopted local statutes effectively decriminalizing cannabis possession. In November, voters in more than a dozen Ohio municipalities will decide on ballot measures to decriminalize cannabis in their jurisdictions. On the social level, a program to teach formerly incarcerated individuals how to grow cannabis for commercial purposes has been set up.

Dionne Dowdy said cannabis firm Riviera Creek and United Returning Citizens are “building out a cannabis, hemp hydroponic school.” Brian Kessler, Riviera Creek’s board chairman, called it a “wonderful program” adding the company’s best employees come with training. “You’re really encouraging people who maybe don’t have great pasts after they come out of prison to give them something that they’re actually skilled at,” Kessler said, “but now teaching them how to do it safely, how to do it properly, how to do it legally.” Under the law, all cannabis industry employees must be vetted by the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The program is funded by a grant from the Hawthorne Social Justice Fund, and will see 10 formerly incarcerated people go through the 18-month program. Two people have begun the training process.

Is Cannabis Legal in Ohio? 

When you’re wondering if recreational cannabis is legal in Ohio, it’s important to understand the changes coming. Ohio recreational cannabis legalization is coming, are you ready? Treat those freshly legal products with respect by utilizing the best storage system available. At FreshStor, find the renowned CVault (the world’s smartest cannabis curing and storage container) as well as the EVault (upgraded 316 pharma-grade steel for secure and sanitary storage of plant extracts like cannabis oil, distillate, isolate, kief, etc.). Upgrade your storage today!