A Potential Economic Boost for Ohio
Come November, Ohio is looking beyond a simple policy change—it’s envisioning a potential $2.8B transformation. With the recent news that a ballot measure to legalize cannabis come November 2023 has been approved (and by a large margin of signatures) the Buckeye State could be the next stop on the ever expanding cannabis legalization tour. Before you get too excited, let's temper that figure with a grain of reality: achieving this requires a mature market, and if we're being honest about state legislative timelines, that could be 3 to 5 years out.
Taking Cues from Michigan's Cannabis Success
Given its geographic proximity, we can use Michigan as a reference point to offer some clarity on the opportunity. Their cannabis market, valued at $2.3 billion in 2022, might just be a teaser of what Ohio could achieve. Given Michigan’s consistent growth (34% 2023 YTD sales growth over the same time period in 2022) and some demographic arithmetic, Ohio’s projected $2.8B market seems plausible.
Colorado’s Taxation Triumph: A Benchmark for Ohio
Remember Colorado’s fiscal success from cannabis taxation? In the fiscal year 2022-23, they raked in a cool $282.3 million. That's no small figure, and Ohio could be on a similar trajectory if projections hold.
Academic Insights: OSU's Take on Revenue Projections
For those who appreciate academic input, an Ohio State University study weighs in. The research suggests that after five years post-legalization, Ohio could generate between $275 million to $450 million in tax revenue. Pairing this with our earlier market projection, the state might be looking at a handsome fiscal contribution, although with a proposed 10% taxation rate, it would be on the low side at around $280 million.
More than Cannabis: A Societal Paradigm Shift on the Horizon
The ballot this November isn’t just about cannabis legalization—it’s sharing the stage with topics like abortion rights. The broader implication? Ohio might be gearing up for a significant societal shift. And it seems the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CTRMLA) has been at the forefront, tirelessly championing this new direction.
What Legalization Entails: Liberty and Fiscal Benefits
If Ohioans vote in agreement, adults in the state will have the liberty to possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis and cultivate up to 12 plants per household. But this move isn’t solely about personal freedom. With its projected 10% sales tax, there's substantial revenue potential, benefiting social equity programs, community development, education, and substance misuse interventions. Moreover, with the proposed Division of Cannabis Control, the state seems intent on ensuring a structured and responsible rollout.
Special Ballots and Voter Mobilization: The Importance of Timing
On the one hand, this isn’t a presidential election year and when cannabis legalization efforts have shown up on special ballots, they haven’t seemed to fair as well. The dual presence of cannabis and abortion rights on the ballot is likely to mobilize voters. Given the historic turnout observed in the recent special election, there's clear evidence of Ohio's evolving political engagement. And while some initiatives, like the recent amendment proposal, didn’t pass, the level of participation shows Ohio's eagerness for change.
Ohio's Pivotal Moment: A Fusion of Politics, Economy, and Society
Ohio's November ballot represents a crossroads, hinting at the state's emerging identity and economic potential. The unfolding chapters of this story, influenced by commerce, politics, and societal perspectives, will undoubtedly shape Ohio's future narrative.