The Ohio Ballot Board voted last week to approve the ballot language voters will see in the November 7th election for the proposed adult use marijuana law, to be called Issue 2. Led by The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the ballot initiative secured a spot on the ballot after collecting and verifying 127,772 signatures. The statute, if passed, would legalize, regulate and tax adult-use marijuana in addition to the current medical cannabis program.

About Issue 2: Legalizing Marijuana in Ohio

Issue 2 proposes that Ohioans age 21 and older may buy and possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis and 15 grams of concentrates at dispensaries. They could also grow it at home (up to six plants per person, 12 in a household). Dispensaries would charge a 10 percent tax, which would be distributed into 4 categories: Social Equity and Jobs Programs (36%), Funding for Dispensary Host Communities (36%), Addiction Treatment and Education (25%), Regulatory and Administrative Costs (3%). Read more. 

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol spokesperson Tom Haren noted in his statement the main benefit to Ohioans for legalizing cannabis for all adults: “Hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue and stringent regulation like we already have in our existing medical marijuana market.”

He added: “We are grateful to the thousands of Ohioans who helped us get to this point and are excited to bring our proposal to regulate marijuana like alcohol before Ohio voters this coming election day.” 

Read the approved ballot language: 

Issue 1 and Issue 2 in Ohio

In Ohio, an initiated constitutional amendment is just like an initiated statute, only rather than proposing a new law or statute, the citizens are proposing an amendment to the Ohio Constitution. Issue 2 is an initiated statute and the abortion issue, which will also be on the ballot as Issue 1, is a constitutional amendment. 

One key difference to these types of ballot measures is that initiated statutes can be repealed. While there poses a significant risk that Issue 2 could be repealed if passed by those who oppose it, experts have noted a wide divide in the Ohio Republican party on the issue, which would make overturning it difficult. Politicians who subvert the will of voters would likely struggle to be reelected. 

Further, August’s controversial special election soundly defeated the attempt by Republican legislators to weaken the power of citizens to amend the Ohio constitution. The fallout of that election, according to experts, may create a massive turnout in November and that people who would be likely to vote on the abortion issue may also be more likely to vote on the marijuana issue.

Which Groups Oppose Issue 2?

The Association of Ohio Health Commissioners More info

Protect Ohio Workers and Families More info

How Will Issue 2 Affect the Medical Marijuana Program?

In July, Ohio established The Division of Marijuana Control, which will oversee the medical marijuana program, stripping the purview of cannabis from the Board of Pharmacy (outside of OARRS reporting). 

If Issue 2 passes in November, it will be up to the Division of Marijuana Control to decide how the current medical marijuana program would function alongside an adult use program. Looking to states like Michigan where adult use is legal, Ohio medical marijuana patients would likely be incentivized to stay in the program by lower or no taxes at dispensaries, expanded medicinal product availability, and a separate register or section of the store to purchase their products. 

With only 101 dispensaries currently licensed to operate in Ohio, very high demand (long lines, limited selection) could be noticeable once new consumers may purchase without a medical card. Finding ways to keep the sickest medical patients who use cannabis for daily relief ahead of those who are just trying it out of curiosity will be a primary concern for dispensary operators if Issue 2 passes.

Keep an Eye on Local Laws

Cities also have local laws that are passed by their city councils. Municipalities across Ohio had the right to allow or ban any medical cannabis-related businesses from their towns through moratoriums. This made the lottery process for dispensaries last year particularly tricky, as only certain municipalities would accept new dispensaries. 

If Issue 2 passes, cities will again have the right to allow or ban adult use cannabis businesses. The incentives to allow adult use will be hard to pass up: Up to $150 million per year (36 percent of the tax revenue) would be allotted specifically to communities that host adult use dispensaries. Cities that currently allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate would not be permitted to enact laws to prohibit already operating medical marijuana dispensaries, but could prohibit them from expanding to an adult use dispensary. According to MJBizDaily, municipal opt-outs that ban cannabis businesses have curtailed retail expansion and consumer access nationwide.

Issue 2 would also put already operating MMJ dispensaries ahead of new applicants. Newly-opened dispensaries across the state have built their stores around the potential to serve both medical patients and the consumer public. MedicateOH talked to multiple operators in recent months who said they are developing systems and processes to best accommodate both current medical patients and new adult use consumers. 

How Can You Help?

The MedicateOH team firmly believes that while cannabis is medicine, it is medicine for EVERYBODY. We don’t think this initiative is perfect, but we do think Issue 2 would grant access to cannabis to all adult citizens in Ohio and has the potential to move the bar toward a community that is more accepting of and invested in the study of this medicinal plant. 

Want more information? Please join us at our upcoming vendor fairs & voter information rallies: 

  • Friday, September 29th 4-9 p.m. Woodburn Brewing Cincinnati More info/sign up
  • Thursday, October 19th Lima “Ohio Proud” Cannabis Education Fair at the Lima Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center More info/sign up
  • Wednesday, November 1st 7-9 p.m. Columbus at The Kee – More info/sign up

Want to help us spread the word? Send us an email to join our volunteer squad. 


The best way one can advocate for change (or for keeping things the same) is by voting. Ohioans who want to vote on Issue 2 to legalize marijuana on November 7th need to be registered to vote by October 7th. Find out if you are registered or start the registration process here:



  • Gabrielle Dion

    Medicate OH's Founder and Publisher is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio and holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and a master's degree in public administration, both from Northern Kentucky University. She has more than 20 years of experience writing and editing professionally for the medical and wellness industries, including positions with The Journal of Pediatrics, Livestrong, The Cincinnati Enquirer, and Patient Pop.