2023 was a momentous year for those who supported a change in Ohio’s marijuana laws. In November, voters approved Issue 2, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative. This landmark decision legalizes and regulates recreational marijuana for all adults in the state.
However, this passage has not been without some controversy. So what can residents expect in this new year? Here is a guide to the 2024 cannabis laws in Ohio.
Issue 2 and Its Implementation
While marijuana has effectively been decriminalized in the state, there are still a few regulatory matters to work out. According to the current law, adult residents can possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. They also can have up to 15 grams of concentrate. Plus, adults can cultivate up to six plants at home, with a limit of 12 plants per household.
All of these new laws will be overseen by the Division of Cannabis Control. This state agency will license and regulate marijuana operations and facilities. There are even provisions to handle the potential tax implications. Currently, all sales of marijuana will be taxed at 10%. That revenue will be directed toward job programs in the state.
However, there have been plenty of gray areas in the laws, and it has left legislators searching for answers. While these changes took effect on December 7, 2023, most laws are still being scrutinized by public advocacy groups, law enforcement officials, and state politicians.
No Legal Places to Purchase
Right now, state residents do not have legal dispensaries to purchase products. The Division of Cannabis Control is not expected to issue the first licenses until Fall 2024. Some proposed bills would allow the state’s established medical marijuana facilities to sell recreational products. But many of these proposals have not been passed. In the meantime, the only legal way to use recreational marijuana is to abide by the home cultivation rules.
However, some state politicians have introduced laws allowing municipalities to ban a few provisions of the law, such as home grown products. Without any lawful places to purchase marijuana, it could open the state to black markets.
Concerns for Public Safety
Can legal recreational cannabis be smoked on public property? Right now, the answer is no. In fact, there are restrictions about smoking and operating a vehicle as well. The state legislature has taken measures to create a public smoking ban. Plus, there have been calls to keep marijuana consumption away from schools, parks, and other areas that children would frequent.
Along with that, some have suggested that landlords could make their own regulations about whether to allow tenants to use marijuana on their properties. Today, local governments continue to have the authority to set their own rules for public cannabis usage.
Expungement of Past Cannabis Convictions
One of the biggest questions remains about cases for those who were convicted of cannabis-related offenses. While the new law does not provide expungement of these records, some lawmakers have suggested that a bill should clear the way for this process. Misdemeanor cannabis offenses are still eligible for expungement despite the new law.
Current Cannabis Laws in Ohio
With the new year, there are plenty of expected changes to Ohio’s cannabis laws. However, many current rules are still being written by the current legislative sessions. Hopefully, by the middle of 2024, residents will clearly understand how these laws could affect them.