US: Ohio to vote on marijuana legalisation

If it passes, Ohio will become the 24th state to legalise adult use of marijuana

marijuana_plant Marijuana plant | PTI

Citizens of Ohio will today vote to decide whether to legalise recreational marijuana. The constitutional amendment was proposed eight years ago. Issue 2 on the November 7 ballot would allow adults 21 and over to buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces (71 grams) of cannabis and 15 grams (about a half-ounce) of extract, and to grow up to six plants per individual through a government programme. 

If it passes, Ohio will become the 24th state to legalise adult use of marijuana. The other states whererecreational use of marijuana has been approved are Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, D.C., California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Michigan, Vermont, Guam, Illinois, Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, New Mexico, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Missouri, Delaware and Minnesota.

In addition to Ohio's standard sales tax, an additional 10 per cent tax will be imposed on marijuana products. The revenue will be used for purposes like marijuana social equity jobs fund and substance abuse programs among others. 

Individuals looking to enter the marijuana legal market should whether belong to a disadvantaged group defined by factors such as race, gender, disability, or economic status or should have a prior legal issue related to marijuana. 

Under the bill, using marijuana in public places would result in a minor misdemeanour charge. The Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association has also cautioned that legalisation could lead to greater traffic and workforce accidents. 

Last year, a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 54 per cent of injured or killed drivers had drugs or alcohol in their systems, with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an active ingredient in marijuana, the most prevalent. The study looked at over 7,000 cases from seven different hospitals around the country from 2019 to 2021. 

— With PTI inputs

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