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New Ohio Marijuana Legalization Ballot Initiative in the Works

On March 2, 2020, a citizens’ group filed a new Ohio ballot initiative, called “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol”, with the Ohio Attorney General’s office in hopes of reaching the Ohio ballot this November. The Attorney General has 10 days to certify the ballot language. Of note, we previously reported on a similar proposed Constitutional amendment titled “Marijuana Rights and Regulations,” which has since been abandoned. In order for the new proposed measure to appear on Ohio’s November 2020 ballot, the petitioners must collect 443,000 valid signatures from registered voters by July 1, 2020.

The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol ballot measure seeks to amend the Ohio Constitution and provide for the legal cultivation, possession, processing, dispensing, use and consumption of cannabis by anyone 21 years of age or older. Possession would be limited to one ounce and individuals could grow up to six plants.  The measure would make the state Department of Commerce responsible for regulation and licensing of the Ohio cannabis industry. Individual municipalities would be able to bar marijuana businesses “through the enactment of an ordinance or through an initiated or referred measure.” However, the issue would be subject to an approval by voters on a local ballot during a general election year.

The proposed amendment specifically provides that employers are not required to permit or accommodate use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or growing of marijuana in the workplace and employers may have policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees.  Additionally, employers may regulate such activities on property the employer owns, occupies, or controls.  Notably, however, the amendment does not specifically state whether an employer’s refusal to hire, right to discharge, or right to otherwise take an adverse employment action because of an individual’s general use, possession, or distribution of marijuana will be affected by the amendment.

We will continue to apprise you of all developments pertaining to the legalization of medical or recreational cannabis in Ohio.

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