Will Ohio Legalize Marijuana in 2020 for Recreational Use?

Will Ohio, “the heart of America,” legalize recreational marijuana in 2020 for adult use? This Midwestern state is the 7th most populated in the U.S. but ranks 34th in terms of size, making it the 10th most densely populated state in the country. And with a climate and geography well suited for cultivating cannabis, if Ohio does legalize marijuana it could become a major player in the North American cannabis market.

However, the state faces some obstacles when it comes to the full legalization of recreational marijuana. Let’s take a look at what’s happening the state, who’s for and who’s against legalizing marijuana in Ohio in 2020, as well as the initiatives that are taking place and their chances are of succeeding.

Voters in the state have already given the thumbs up to medical marijuana legislation. Although the program, which was approved by voters in 2016, has gotten off to a slow start, dispensaries started selling medical cannabis in early 2019. Because of this, residents seem to be lightening up about lighting up a recreational marijuana program.20

The 2019 Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative

Back in May of 2018, the Ohio Ballot Board certified a proposed constitutional amendment which is being put forth by an organization called Ohio Families for Change. The Ohio Marijuana Legalization Initiative, as it is called, will ask voters to decide whether or not to implement the Marijuana Rights and Regulations Amendment. The proposed amendment to the state’s constitution would allow Ohioans 21 and older to possess and share reasonable amounts of marijuana as well as to grow their own.

If petitioners are successful at collecting enough signatures, the measure would appear on the ballot in Ohio on November 5, 2019, as what is called an initiated constitutional amendment. However, in order for the measure to make it onto the state’s 2019 ballot, the group must collect more than 300,000 valid signatures from at least 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties. Will the group succeed? If past history is any indication, it’s not going to be an easy task.

Although eight petitions to legalize marijuana have been certified by authorities over the past five years, only one has made it onto a ballot. Even though a 2015 Quinnipiac University poll showed that 53% of Ohio voters were ready to legalize recreational marijuana, voters rejected the previous attempt by a margin of 2 to 1. Many believe the measure failed because it gave a monopoly to a handful of stakeholders. Those pushing the new initiative promise not to make that same mistake again.

Ian James, director of the ResponsibleOhio, the campaign behind the 2015 initiative claims that the Quinnipiac poll confirms that Ohio voters want to legalize marijuana. Here’s what he had to say at the time:

“Ohioans want to legalize adult personal use of marijuana and to provide medical marijuana for the compassionate care of the chronically ill. “We’re confident that Ohioans will reject the status quo and end failed marijuana prohibition in November by voting Yes on Issue 3 to provide a highly-regulated, taxed and tested system for legalization. Passing Issue 3 will make medical marijuana available, create tens of thousands of jobs and generate needed revenue for local communities’ safety services and infrastructure.”

Opposition To Legal Marijuana In Ohio

Although voters approved the 2016 medical marijuana initiative by a comfortable margin, it’s not clear if residents in the state are ready to move on creating a recreational market. Ohioans have been leaning red in recent elections. Furthermore, the state has already decriminalized marijuana and many voters feel that creating a market for the drug is taking the issue too far.

One of the main opponents to legalizing marijuana in Ohio in 2020 is incoming governor Mike DeWine. On April 20, the state’s former attorney general rejected a petition that sought to fully legalize marijuana in Ohio. And after a 2015  visit to Colorado to assess that state’s legal recreational marijuana program, DeWine stated that he was “alarmed” by the state’s recreational cannabis program, specifically condemning the state’s laws as they pertain to cannabis-infused edibles.

Fortunately, because the initiative would invoke a constitutional amendment, DeWine would not be able to veto legislation offhand. And with more than 50% of the state’s voters in favor of legalizing marijuana, the chances of Ohio legalizing marijuana in 2020 are high (no pun intended). 

In the meantime, according to nonprofit marijuana advocacy group NORML, under current Ohio marijuana laws, anyone caught with less than 100 grams of marijuana in their possession faces a misdemeanor charge and a fine of $150. However, if you’re caught selling marijuana in the state you could be looking at a minimum of one year in prison and a fine of $2,500.

24 thoughts on “Will Ohio Legalize Marijuana in 2020?”

  1. I need for it to approve..my life is in a bed for 9 years…cant stand very long continuously in pain don’t know how much I can handle this ..you guys scared the doctors from giving pain pills out to people that needs it..I heard about the cannnibis capsules they say there good and she don’t have to take any other drug..I need a life please ..Help the ones that need the help ..I get social security so not much money after paying pills but ..please help us so we can be able to get it.

  2. There is a clear demand for recreational cannabis. We should do this right and join the other states and be United. Make it safe for the people who chose to use . And affordable for the medical patients who need it . Together we can remove the bad stigma that people with no knowledge of what cannabis really is.

  3. Move to Illinois or Michigan if you want to get stoned. I hope they never legalize recreational pot in Ohio. Pot should remain as a medical tool. It’s fine if people get high for fun and stay in their own private places, but they never do. More people will use pot, then drive and get in other peoples faces, when we already have distracted and drunk drivers to deal with. Because of that fact, recreational pot has to remain illegal in Ohio.

    1. Youngatown Ohio

      Ohioan you are a stupid f*****g a$$hole. Get in peoples faces? What the fk does that even mean. Its pzzy a$$ c**ts like you to why this state sucks.

    2. Learn the facts. Driving accidents due to mj are not an epidemic in states that have legal recreational mj. And if it’s ok for me to use medical marijuiana, then it must be safe, right? Legalizing medical mj and not recreational makes as much sense as ‘medicinal’ alcohol during prohibition.

    3. Your effin stupid if you think recreational marijuana is going to be more harmful than drunk drivers! Have you not read statistics on any other state that has legalized marijuana? Obviously not! The drug overdoses went way down. OHIO NEEDS TO LEGALIZE IT ASAP!

    4. You obviously know nothing about marijuana at all, get your facts straight buddy. I’ve been a marijuana user for over 40 years and I’ve driven high for over over 40 years and have NEVER had an accident nor have I EVER stolen, started fights or put anyone in harm’s way and I’ve ALWAYS held a job. Alcohol and hard drugs like opiods and meth are the issue not marijuana!!! Personally, I think I speak for many others as well, marijuana does a way better job with pain and illness and also eating disorders and opiod dependence than any man made pills. I WILL NOT take meds, I have a long list of health issues that would be a major problem for me and alter my everyday activities if it weren’t for marijuana, it helps me sleep, calms my nerves, takes away my pain and helps me have an appetite that I would not have if I did not smoke marijuana. Do some research and get the facts…just sayin

      1. Thank you Anita-I also have smoked for 40 years, always worked and never had an accident. Car wreck in 1978 is why!

    1. Why are we the last state to get on board? I have chronic pain and can’t afford the stupid weed card and thanks to the junkies we can”t get any pain meds either, Mike DeSWINE SAW TO ALL OF THIS, HE IS A SUCKY SENATOR AND SHOULD BE KICKED TO THE CURB!

  4. Ronnie M Yenchik

    Outlaw beer , wine , cigarettes if you are so dam worried about our health . Oh I.m sorry they pay you to much kick back money . Legalize marijuana you two faced state leaders .

  5. Hello, could you so a follow up to ‘Will Ohio Legalize Marijuana in 2019? – Ohio Dispensaries’ please? We have been trying to contact Ohio Families for Change and it appears they ghosted when Ohio Medical Marijuana Registry was activated.

    Thank you, Tammy

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