A recent survey of Ohio lawmakers indicates that 54 percent of them believe voters will approve a ballot initiative next month to legalize marijuana in the state. This expectation is shared by both Democratic (63 percent) and Republican (52 percent) lawmakers, despite the GOP-controlled Senate’s recent resolution urging voters to reject the reform.

The survey, conducted from October 17 to 19, polled 35 members of Ohio’s legislature, representing a significant portion of the state’s lawmakers. It was a collaborative effort between Werth PR and the Gongwer News Service.

These predictions from lawmakers align with a recent survey of likely Ohio voters, where 57 percent expressed support for the legalization measure, including most Republicans. However, Ohio Republican lawmakers remain divided on the issue, with Senate President Matt Huffman stating that the measure will be revisited for possible amendments if it passes.

While some Republican officials, such as U.S. Rep Dave Joyce, support the initiative, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine remains firmly against it, citing concerns about potential negative consequences.

If the initiative passes, Ohio will become the 24th state to legalize adult-use cannabis. The key provisions of the legalization ballot measure include:

– Legalizing possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis for adults 21 and older, along with 15 grams of marijuana concentrates.

– Allowing individuals to grow up to six plants for personal use, with a maximum of 12 plants per household.

– Imposing a 10 percent sales tax on cannabis sales, with revenue allocated to various programs.*

– Establishing a Division of Cannabis Control under the state Department of Commerce to regulate the industry.

– Offering a head start in the recreational market to existing medical cannabis businesses.

– Allowing individual municipalities to opt out of allowing new recreational cannabis companies.

The initiative has generated intense campaigning on both sides. The yes campaign has sent cease and desist letters to TV stations airing what they label as opposition advertisements filled with lies. Attorney General Dave Yost published an analysis of the initiative to provide voters with clarity amid what he described as an inflamed and inaccurate campaign.

If approved, legalization could bring in an estimated $404 million in annual tax revenue for the state, according to an analysis by Ohio State University. This opportunity for legalization comes after Ohio voters rejected a similar measure in 2015, providing a chance for lawmakers and citizens to reconsider the issue.

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