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Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Marijuana legalization passes in Ohio

Photo by Ryan Lange on Unsplash

Issue Two, the marijuana legalization state question, passed in Ohio. Abortion rights (which got much more attention) also passed. Ohio, where I live, is now the 24th state to have approved legal marijuana for all adults. (Oklahoma, where I used to live, technically has only medical marijuana, but it's a very liberal version of medical marijuana that amounts to full legalization). 

There is an important difference  between the two state questions in Ohio. The abortion issue amended the state constitution, making passage difficult for politicians to overturn, but the marijuana question amends state law. So it's possible that the Republican-dominated state legislature could change provisions of the new legalization law or even repeal it. The spokesman for the "vote yes" campaign on the marijuana issue told me he expects lawmakers to respect the results; I guess we'll see.  

As I wrote in one of my other newspaper articles about the ballot issue, if legalization is allowed to go forward in Ohio, it will shift huge amounts of money (and tax revenues) from Michigan to Ohio; prices in Michigan marijuana stores have dropped sharply, and much of the industry's sales comes from Ohio consumers. (As I wrote in that article, the small town of Morenci, Michigan, right on the Ohio border, has no grocery stores but five marijuana stores).

Ohio is hardly a left wing state -- it has been trending Republican in recent  years -- but the legalization measure passed with a solid 57% voting yes. 

Jacob Sullum at Reason magazine is reliably excellent in his "war on some drugs" coverage; here is his article on Ohio's marijuana state question. 

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