YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio (WDTN) – Despite Ohio voters approving the legalization of recreational cannabis, don’t expect it to be on the market right away.
As of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, the “Yes” votes were winning, 55.5%-45.5%. In becoming the 24th state to legalize recreational marijuana, the initiative’s passage ends a nearly 90-year-long ban in Ohio, with the exception of medical marijuana.
“We don’t expect retail sales to start until Q4 of 2024,” said Joe Chek, facility director at the Cresco Labs facility in Yellow Springs.
Growing facilities in the state are planning for the potential legalization with expansions to their grow operations.
“So, for us, we know that we would be amongst the first groups to begin supplying that material and in an adult use market since we’re already operating,” said Chek.
Even though Issue 2 passed, cannabis is illegal at the federal level. This means that marijuana cannot be imported or exported from the state through the Interstate Commerce Act.
Every plant must be grown in Ohio.
“We can start growing, you know, as soon as the legislature passes or as soon as the initiative passes. But we still have to wait out the growth life cycle of the plant, which is a number of weeks. It’s just a matter of when we would put those plants in the ground is going to depend on when the initiative passes,” said Chek.
The life cycle of the plant can take up to 4 months from seed to harvest.
Unlike Issue 1, if passed, the state legislature can amend or repeal the issue as a whole. This has growers holding back from starting on the day it is legalized.
According to the language of Issue 2, recreational cannabis would become legal 30 days after the election.
“It is going to depend on when the initiative passes. And then as we start to see language come out from the state, we’ll get a sense of when the state is ready to turn things on. You don’t want to do too much in advance of that because you never know,” said Chek.
Back in September, Gov. Mike DeWine expressed his opposition to Issue 2. If passed,