Issue 2: So, what happens now?

With a solid majority, Ohioans have passed Issue 2, legalizing marijuana as an initiated statute. But what does this mean for Ohio and for me? We have the answers below:  

Wait… Is this in our constitution?  

Unlike Issue 1 which was put in our constitution, Issue 2 was passed as an initiated statute, which means it goes into the Ohio Revised Code. An initiated statute, or law, is easier to get on a ballot than a constitutional amendment. Consequently, this comes with the drawback that initiated statutes can be easily changed, while constitutional amendments are much harder to change.  

When does this take effect? 

The new law will take effect on Dec 7th. So that’s when adults 21 years or older can smoke, possess up to 2.5 ounces and grow up to 6 plants. Unless the legislature amends those provisions.  

However, the cannabis division that Issue 2 authorizes must be established, write its own rules concerning cultivation and dispensing, which the agency has nine months to accomplish. So even with the legalization weeks away Ohioans will have a much longer waiting period before they can buy in a licensed dispensary.  

Where can Ohioans smoke? 

Since the legislature could revise the law, and indicated they plan too, this means we are not exactly sure how restrictive this legalization may be. The Ohio Department of Commerce has said that they expect it would follow similar rules as cigarettes. This is not clear, however, and Gov. DeWine has asked for more clarification to be put into the statute. 

Can companies still drug test? 

Yes. This does not restrict drug testing. You are not going to want your agents to be under the influence at work and this new legalization still gives the employer discretion on this matter. The statue is clear that employers can still drug test and can have zero tolerance policies. 

Where are the taxes going? 

Currently, the passed statute gives 10% of the tax revenue from each sale to four different funds. 36% to cannabis social equity and jobs fund; 36% percent to the host community cannabis facilities fund; 25% to the substance abuse and addiction fund; and 3% to the cannabis control and tax commission fund. 

However, many lawmakers have already expressed their desire to revise this section and have talked about giving more to local governments, law enforcement or schools. As they work on revising the law this will certainly change.  

Can I lose my license for partaking? 

As you know, you can lose your license for being convicted of breaking drug laws. So, since this is still technically a federal crime… where does that leave Ohioans? Currently, nothing has changed until this new law goes into effect.  

However, the department will make changes based on the final statute. The department has a list of criminal offences that may disqualify you for licensure, which you can find HERE. Since the department requires the individual to be convicted of the crime, we presume this will have some revisions based on the soon to be updated statute.  

What about the Insurance industry?  

I have a separate article detailing our analysis of what the future may hold. Be sure to check it out here!  

 Please reach out to John Wells, OIA’s Government Affairs Manager at for questions on this issue or any advocacy issues.

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