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Frequently asked questions about Ohio’s marijuana issue

Looking for information about Issue 3, the vote about legalizing marijuana in Ohio? Use this FAQ to help answer your questions.


Q: Who is behind the campaign to make marijuana legal in Ohio? The ResponsibleOhio campaign includes the following political consultants?

A:Ian James of The Strategy Network, Republican lobbyist Neil Clark, Cincinnati area attorney Chris Stock who served in the Jim Petro administration, former Akron Beacon Journal reporter Dennis Willard, and Columbus-based elections law attorney Don McTigue.

Q: What do the polls say about voter attitudes toward legalizing marijuana in Ohio?

A: A Quinnipiac University poll in April 2015 found 52 percent of Ohio voters support allowing adults to possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use and 84 percent support allowing medical marijuana.

Q: How much is the campaign expected to cost in Ohio?

A: ResponsibleOhio says it is prepared to spend what it takes, an estimated $25 million, to win. Opponents concede that they will be outspent. But opponents could attract deep pocketed support. The Washington Post reported casino mogul billionaire Sheldon Adelson poured more than $5 million into the anti-pot campaign in Florida in 2014.

Q: If it passes, when would marijuana be legal?

A: It would be legal after the vote but it would take at least six months before legally produced pot is on the market. The Ohio Legislature has put a competing constitutional amendment on the November ballot that is designed to nullify the legalization amendment should it pass.

Q: How much marijuana would I be allowed to possess?

A: Adults ages 21 and older would be allowed up to one ounce.

Q: Are the growing sites going to be limited?

A: Yes. The amendment only allows for 10 specific sites. ResponsibleOhio investors will have the opportunity to operate the grow 10 grow operations.

Q: How much pot would these sites grow?

A: ResponsibleOhio estimates the 10 site will eventually produce 538,000 pounds per year, which amounts to about one ounce for each Ohio adult age 21 or older.

Q: What happens if the 10 sites can’t keep up with market demand?

A: Four years after voter approval, the Ohio Marijuana Control Commission would assess consumer demand based on sales in prior years and may add an additional grow site.

Q: Would home growing marijuana be allowed?

A: Yes. Adults ages 21 and older could grow, possess and share with other adults up to four flowering plants and up to eight ounces. Home growing would be limited to indoor areas inaccessible to minors. Growers would have to get a state license.

Q: Would smoking or using marijuana in public be allowed?

A: No.

Q: Would there be penalties for driving under the influence of legal marijuana?

A: Yes. It would be a criminal offense to operate a vehicle, aircraft, train or motorboat under the influence of pot.

Q: Could employers make sure their workers don’t use marijuana at work or on their property?

A: Employers could prohibit the possession and use of marijuana in the workplace, except that employees with doctors’ notes for medical marijuana would be allowed to self-administer marijuana subject to any restrictions applied to other prescribed medications.

Q: How many retail shops will there be? And would a retail shop be near my house or my child’s school?

A: Local voters would have to approve retail shops, beginning in May 2016. And retail shops would be limited to one per 10,000 people. Pot factories, dispensaries or retail shops can’t be within 1,000 feet of playgrounds, schools, libraries, houses of worship or day care centers.

Q: How will the marijuana sold to the public be tested?

A: The Ohio Marijuana Control Commission would license at least six testing facilities located near colleges and universities to conduct research and/or certify the safety and potency of pot and pot products.

Q: Will edible and other marijuana products be available?

A: Yes. The Ohio Marijuana Control Commission would license product manufacturing plants and regulate their products for consistent potency, standard packaging and chemical content.

Q: How much in tax revenues are likely to be generated off marijuana production and sales?

A: ResponsibleOhio estimates $554 million in annual tax revenue.

Q: Who would get the tax revenue?

A: Roughly $288 million would go to cities and townships, $157 million to counties, $78 million to a fund to pay for the Ohio Marijuana Control Commission, addiction treatment and research. County sales taxes would generate an additional $31 million.

Q: Which states already allow sale of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes?

A: Twenty-three states allow for medical marijuana. Of those 23, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia allow for recreational use.

Q: Wouldn’t marijuana still be illegal under federal law?

A: Yes. Federal law classifies marijuana a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I drugs, which include LSD, heroin and Ecstasy, are defined as having no currently accepted medical use, a lack of safety for use under medical supervision and a high potential for abuse.

Q: Who opposes the ballot issue?

A: The Dayton Regional Employers Against Marijuana, The Drug Free Action Alliance, Gov. John Kasich, Attorney General Mike DeWine, Auditor Dave Yost, Treasurer Josh Mandel, Secretary of State Jon Husted, and some of the pro-pot advocates who don’t like the structure of ResponsibleOhio’s plan.

Q: Who would be in charge of regulating the industry in Ohio?

A: The governor would appoint a seven-member Ohio Marijuana Control Commission to regulate the entire industry in Ohio and serve as a clearinghouse for research on marijuana. The commission would hire staff.

Q: Will pot sales be cash-only like they are in other states?

A: Yes, unless federal banking laws are changed.

Q: Roughly, how much many joints does one ounce make?

A: One ounce is about 28 grams and each joint, depending on how they’re rolled, uses about half a gram. So, the one ounce limit would mean about 50 joints. Of course, marijuana is consumed via many different methods. Studies show those who use marijuana 21 or more days per month account for 80 percent of the consumption.

Sources: ResponsibleOhio ballot language and summary; Quinnipiac University poll; Ohio Secretary of State; RAND Corp.; and Dayton Daily News research.

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