COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohioans could buy marijuana, pot-infused candies and other related products from potentially 1,100-plus retail stores around the state if voters approve a legalization measure on Tuesday’s ballots.
The proposed constitutional amendment, known as Issue 3, would let adults 21 and older purchase marijuana and grow up to four plants at home. The initiative lays out a regulatory scheme, while creating a network of 10 authorized growing facilities and establishing nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries.
Here are some things to know about how retail stores would work under the measure.
NUMBER OF STORES BASED ON OHIO’S POPULATION
The proposal would allow state regulators to license more than 1,150 retail marijuana stores. That’s because the amendment ties the number of stores to the latest population estimates from the U.S. Census. Stores statewide could not exceed a ratio of 1 per 10,000 residents. A new Marijuana Control Commission would oversee the industry and set rules for retailers. Owners would pay an annual license fee of $10,000.
REGULATIONS OF POT-SELLING SHOPS SIMILAR TO LIQUOR STORES
Like today’s liquor stores, marijuana retail shops must be licensed to sell to those age 21 and older. Selling to those under age could lead to a jail sentence. No one under age 21 could work at or enter the stores. The shops would have to obtain local precinct voter approval before being licensed to open, similar to local liquor option elections.
ITEMS ON SHELVES RESTRICTED
If you got the munchies, you’d be out of luck: Snacks wouldn’t be sold alongside marijuana products. Retailers could only sell marijuana, marijuana-infused products, accessories or other related items. Shoppers could not consume any marijuana or pot-infused products they buy and open there. Retailers could only purchase their pot products from licensed facilities in state, and they could not sell the items at a price less than the store paid for them.
LIMITS TO POT SHOPS’ LOCATIONS
Retail stores could not be located within 1,000 feet of a house of worship, public library, public or chartered elementary or secondary school, state-licensed day-care center, or public playground. But after a certain date, the shops could not be forced to relocate if a new public library, school or church opens within that same distance of a shop.
NO RESTRICTIONS ON THE NUMBER OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES
People with debilitating medical conditions could get medical marijuana at not-for-profit dispensaries if they have a certification from their doctor. Patients don’t have to be 21. Those younger than 18 would need a parent’s permission. The proposal sets no cap on the number of dispensaries in the state.
RECREATIONAL USE IN OTHER STATES
Ohio could become the fifth state to legalize recreational marijuana after Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska.
Currently, 280 medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon have told the state they will sell to recreational customers. Washington has 210 licensed retailers, while Colorado had at least 385 licensed retail marijuana shops as of Oct. 1. Alaska could begin retail sales next year.