Support Is Building For Recreational Marijuana Legalization in Ohio
The past four years have seen the passage of medical marijuana laws in a handful of Midwestern and East Coast states. Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, and even New York can be counted as having relatively young markets.
According to Euromonitor, the total marijuana market, for both legal and illegal products, is around $150 billion globally.
State by state, citizens are choosing how, when and where marijuana is appropriate. According to a Pew Research study, 61% Americans favored legalization of marijuana in 2018, compared with 31% in 2000.
National survey data compiled by Gallup in October 2018 revealed that 66 percent of US adults support marijuana legalization, which is the highest ever reported by Gallup. Meanwhile, the FDA sought public comments on whether marijuana should be reclassified under global drug treaties. The last date of accepting public comments was October 31, 2018.
Voters in at least four states saw marijuana ballot questions this fall. Michigan and North Dakota will voted on legalization of marijuana, while Missouri and Utah voters took up the ballot question of allowing medical uses of marijuana. In general, it seems to be a great election for marijuana and voting to end marijuana prohibition. The measures succeeded in Missouri, Utah, and Michigan and failed in North Dakota.
Many young people find marijuana a more appealing alternative. Millennials are likely to buy marijuana products if they’re marketed as a lifestyle brand. They enjoy marijuana better as it’s more relaxing and without hangovers or the morning after. According to a 2017 Yahoo News poll, the majority of the 55 million recreational marijuana users in the US are millennials.
Even the beverage industry is trying to get in on marijuana action. The beverage industry giants are also taking note of the shifting consumer tastes. Coca-Cola is closely watching the opportunities in CBD-infused beverages. In June 2018, Heineken-owned HEINY launched nonalcoholic marijuana beer infused with THC – the component in marijuana that causes psychoactive effects. Constellation Brands STZ invested $4 billion in a Canadian marijuana producer in August 2018.
The CBD oil in Ohio debate continues. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy ruled that all marijuana products, including CBD oil, can only be sold in a licensed medical marijuana control program dispensary. However, none of those dispensaries were open in Ohio. Thus, the oil became illegal for anyone to possess or sell.
The CBD oil, or Cannabidiol Oils comes from cannabis/marijuana, and does not contain THC, the chemical in marijuana that gets people high. Some say that the state is wrong to rule that the sale and use of CBD oil is illegal taking into account the fact that it’s exempt under a federal law.
Ohio’s medical marijuana licensing process is extremely competitive. The licensing now is very restricted. Ohio has substantial pre-requisites to licensing such as capitalization requirements necessitating access to hundreds of thousands of dollars, large teams of operators with previous marijuana experience, etc.
Will Ohio legalize recreational marijuana in 2019? At this time there is no indication that legalization of recreational marijuana is on the table for Ohio in 2019.