For the past few years, many organizations in Ohio have been pushing for marijuana reform to be legislated in the state. This November, the first legalization amendment measure will reach the ballot. According to the Ohio Board of Elections, Ohio’s petition to get recreational and medical marijuana legalization on the November 3rd ballot this year has received the required 305,591 signatures to put the issue to the voters.
If the initiative is passed, Ohio will become the fifth state to legalize recreational marijuana and the first to do so before first allowing for any kind of legal medical marijuana use. Although the initiative has significant support in Ohio, it is unknown whether or not it will pass. Some suggest that waiting until the presidential election in 2016 when voter turnout is likely to be higher would be a better idea, but a failed measure on this ballot would not preclude a similar amendment from being put on the 2016 ballot.
What Will Marijuana Legalization Look Like in Ohio If the Amendment Passes?
The Ohio Marijuana Legalization Amendment proposed on the 2015 ballot would allow adults 21 and over to purchase marijuana for both medicinal and recreational uses. In addition, adults would be allowed to grow four marijuana plants for personal use, provided that minors could not access them. No limit would be put on personal use, but unauthorized sales and possession of more than one ounce at any given time would still be prohibited.
The proposed amendment also sets up a network of 10 authorized cannabis farms within the state and lays out a regulatory and taxation scheme for marijuana. Some of the potential investors in these farms were heavily involved in the push to get the signatures needed to put the bill on this year’s ballot, which has lead some both within the pro-legalization community and without to question the motives behind this amendment. Regardless, pro-legalization advocates have hailed this initiative as a move in the right direction.
In the meantime, marijuana use for any reason remains illegal in Ohio. While possession of small amounts has been decriminalized and put on par with minor traffic violations, possession of larger amounts and more serious marijuana-related charges can still lead to quite severe long-term consequences. If you have been arrested on marijuana charges, don’t fool yourself into thinking that it is no big deal. You need to take the charges seriously and work to create a strong defense. Call Columbus drug lawyer Ben Luftman at (614) 500-3836 for a free consultation on your case right away to find out how we may be able to help.