Ohioans won’t vote on legalizing marijuana in Ohio on the November ballot, but the group pushing for the reform will try again in 2023.
Members of the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol had filed a lawsuit in Franklin County accusing GOP lawmakers of trying to delay the ballot question until 2023. The group submitted voter signatures earlier this year to place its adult-use marijuana proposal before the Legislature.
The measure would allow Ohioans age 21 and older to buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and grow plants at home. Products would be taxed at 10%, with revenue going toward administrative costs, addiction treatment programs, municipalities with dispensaries and a social equity and jobs program.
The group collected signatures to ask Ohio’s GOP-controlled Legislature to consider its proposal before heading to the ballot box. But when those signatures were approved and when lawmakers would need to consider the measure was in dispute.
On Friday, the group announced a settlement in that lawsuit. The proposal to legalize marijuana in Ohio will be sent to lawmakers on Jan. 3, which will give legislators four months to consider it.
Republican legislative leaders opposed the proposal and GOP Gov. Mike DeWine had said he opposes legalizing marijuana. Democrats in the House introduced proposed legislation based on the ballot language, but it’s unlikely to move forward.
If lawmakers don’t act, the group could collect more signatures and put the issue before voters in 2023.
“The most important thing for us was preserving an opportunity for Ohio voters to decide this issue,” spokesman Tom Haren said in a statement. “To be certain: We aren’t going anywhere and are undeterred in our goal to legalize cannabis for all adults in Ohio.”
The Ohio Legislature legalized marijuana for medicinal use in 2016.
Reporter Haley BeMiller contributed to this article.
Jessie Balmert is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Akron Beacon Journal, Cincinnati Enquirer, Columbus Dispatch and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.