Ohio votes approve Issue 2, becomes 24th state to legalize recreational marijuana

OHIO — Ohio became the 24th state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana following the passage of Issue 2.

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More than 2 million Ohioans voted in support of Issue 2 with 100% of all precincts now reporting, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s website.

It allows anyone over the age of 21 and older to use and have up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana.

News Center 7′s John Bedell reports that we will not start seeing the first legal sales of recreational marijuana until this time next year.

>>PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Ohio voters pass measure to legalize recreational marijuana

Issue 2 will expand legal pot use beyond our current medical marijuana law. In addition to allowing anyone over the age of 21 to use it, it allows them to even grow it at home.

But it will still be illegal to sell home-grown marijuana.

Opponents like the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police told News Center 7 that they are worried about kids being exposed to the drug and have public safety concerns.

“I think it’s going to be a problem for the state in general,” said Gary Wolske, Ohio FOP President. “I mean, the estimates are based on things that have happened in other states. There’s going to be an increase of probably about 50 fatalities due to this and about 2300 injury accidents due to this.”

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Supporters say this is a win for the state of Ohio.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol also told News Center 7 that the state will benefit from tax revenue. They also say it will help people with medical issues who can’t get a medical pot right now by expanding access to marijuana.

“It is still far too easy for somebody to have their life totally upended by even a small, minor interaction with the criminal justice system as a result of one marijuana citation, arrest, or conviction,” said Tom Haren. “It can make it harder to get a job. It can make it harder to get to school, to get a loan, or to lease an apartment. And we think that’s a real problem.”

>>Issue 2: How it would impact the Ohio’s existing medical marijuana industry if passed

Since Issue 2 will change state law, state lawmakers could make changes to it.

News Center 7 has reached out to several state lawmakers in both parties, and they say they do expect the legislature to make some changes to this new law.

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