Ohio Communities Opting Out

Ohio Communities Opting Out of Recreational Marijuana Ahead of Launch

As Ohio prepares for the early launch of its recreational marijuana market next month, at least 47 communities have decided to opt out of adult-use marijuana sales. This decision follows the analysis by Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law.

Smaller Scale of Local Bans Compared to Other States 

Compared to states like Michigan and New York, Ohio’s number of local bans is significantly lower. Ohio voters approved adult-use marijuana last fall, and since then, lawmakers and regulators have been working to finalize the launch of retail sales, which could start as soon as June.

Similar to other states with legalized marijuana, Ohio’s Issue 2 allows local governments to implement their restrictions or bans on adult-use cannabis businesses.

Ohio's Position Compared to Other States

As of the end of March, only 47 out of more than 2,200 municipalities or townships in Ohio have passed bans on recreational marijuana sales. This represents about 2% of Ohio communities opting out. 

In contrast:

  • In Michigan, 1,300 out of 1,773 municipalities (73%) have opted out.
  • In New York, 753 out of 1,520 municipalities (about 50%) have opted out.

The 47 bans in Ohio affect communities that represent only about 9% of the state’s population.

Temporary Bans and Existing Medical Cannabis Operations

Some of the bans in Ohio are temporary. According to the analysis, nine of these bans are moratoriums set to last six months or less. 

It’s important to note that while communities can ban adult-use businesses, they cannot prohibit existing medical cannabis companies that are already operating.

The initial recreational sales in Ohio will likely take place at existing medical marijuana (MMJ) dispensaries. These dispensaries, if granted dual licenses, will be allowed to sell both medical and adult-use marijuana products.

Ohio localities with a moratorium for adult use marijuana operators:

Local Ohio Moratoriums Cannabis Map
Moritz College of Law - Local Moratoriums for Ohio Adult Use Marijuana Operators

Why a Medical Marijuana Card Might Be More Prudent Than Relying on Adult-Use Sales

As Ohio prepares to launch its recreational marijuana market, the decision by many communities to opt out of adult-use sales highlights the importance of considering a medical marijuana card. 

Here’s why getting an Ohio marijuana card might be a more prudent choice for those in need:

Wider Accessibility to Medical Marijuana – With 47 communities opting out of recreational marijuana sales, accessibility may become an issue for those relying solely on adult-use dispensaries. 

In contrast, the Ohio medical marijuana program has a well-established network of dispensaries across the state. This ensures that medical cardholders have reliable and continued access to cannabis products, regardless of local bans on recreational sales.

Financial Benefits –  The recent elimination of the patient registration fee and the $25 caregiver registration fee makes obtaining a medical marijuana card more affordable. 

Medical marijuana patients will also avoid the 10% tax that will be applied to recreational marijuana sales. These cost savings can be significant, making medical marijuana a more affordable option for many seeking the medical benefits. 

Expanded Product Selection – Medical dispensaries offer a broader range of top-shelf cannabis products specifically geared towards medical needs. This includes over 200 strains of marijuana, various edibles, vapes, and other products that may not be found at recreational dispensaries. 

For patients requiring specific formulations or higher potency products, having a medical marijuana card is a necessity to gain access to the needed items.

Discounts and Special Programs – Medical marijuana patients in Ohio can benefit from disability and income-based discounts.  These discounts are not available to recreational users, making the medical program a better option for anyone who has a medical condition that qualifies them for a medical marijuana card.

Simplified Registration Process – With the streamlined registration process, obtaining or renewing a medical marijuana card in Ohio is now easier than ever. 

Patients and caregivers can simply confirm their information online and activate or renew their cards without any payment. This hassle-free registration and renewal process ensures that patients can maintain their access to medical cannabis without facing delays or complications.

Given the significant number of Ohio communities opting out of recreational marijuana sales, having a medical marijuana card provides a more reliable, cost-effective, and legally secure option for accessing cannabis. 

With broader accessibility, impressive financial benefits, and a wider selection of cannabis products, obtaining a medical marijuana card in Ohio is a good choice for those seeking ready availability to the products they need when they need them. 

Looking Ahead – As Ohio moves forward with the launch of its recreational marijuana market, the relatively low number of local bans suggests a more welcoming environment compared to other states. With only a small percentage of communities opting out, the majority of Ohio is poised to embrace the new market. This sets the stage for a dynamic period of growth and adaptation in the state’s cannabis industry.

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