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Ohio Kicks Off Early Voting on Marijuana Legalization Initiative Amid Intense Debate

Polls hint at Ohioans’ favorable leanings towards recreational cannabis legalization, while opposition ads stoke controversy.




Early voting began Wednesday in Ohio on a pivotal marijuana legalization initiative. While polls lean favorably towards legalization, controversial opposition ads have intensified the debate.

According to a recent survey commissioned by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, 55% of 843 likely voters show support for the initiative. A separate Fallon Research poll found a significant 59% endorsement rate among registered voters. These numbers suggest that Ohioans may be leaning toward making their state the 24th in the U.S. to approve recreational cannabis use.

The proposed initiative, if passed, would allow adults 21 and older to purchase up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis. They could also grow a limited number of plants for personal use. Supporters are quick to underline the economic boon recreational cannabis might represent. They point to a recent Ohio State University study which shows the attached 10% sales tax could funnel over $400 million annually into the state, designated for a range of beneficial programs.

However, detractors have recently deployed a series of divisive ads. One titled “Flatline” is laden with implications of the fatal consequences of legalization and asserts the proposal would dangerously neglect child safety.

Another ad, “Candy,” makes the odd claim that legalizing cannabis could flood stores with candies infused with drugs, using products bearing a suspicious resemblance to popular candies, such as Sour Patch Kids, to drive the point.

“It’s incredibly disappointing anytime Ohio voters are lied to, but it’s clear our opposition sees


“Prohibition has failed,” said Tom Heren of the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “You can have your life ruined with one minor mistake.”

no other way to defeat Issue 2,” said Tom Heren, an attorney and spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

“The sky hasn’t fallen in any of the states that have already legalized,” Heren added, referencing the 23 states where recreational cannabis is legal. “Our proposal is meticulously crafted, relying on best practices to ensure that it suits Ohio.”

While Heren highlights the proposal’s economic and safety benefits for Buckeye-staters, prominent government figures like Gov. Mike DeWine and Senate president Matt Huffman still oppose adult-use marijuana, Benzinga reported in August. Republican Rep. Jamie Callender has warned that some legislators might even overturn a pro-marijuana vote by the public.



Cannaconvo with Peter Su of Green Check Verified

Cannabis Last Week with Jon Purow interviews Peter Su of Green Check Verified. Peter Su is a Senior Vice President with Green Check Verified, the top cannabis banking compliance software/consultancy in the space. A 20+ year veteran of the banking industry, Peter serves on the Banking & Financial Services committee of the National Cannabis Industry Association. He chairs the Banking and Financial Services Committee for the NYCCIA & HVCIA. He is an official member of the Rolling Stone Cannabis Culture Council. And, he is on the board of the Asian Cannabis Roundtable, serving as treasurer.

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