Ohio governor opposes November ballot measure legalizing adult-use marijuana

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Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine is opposing a ballot measure in November that seeks to legalize adult-use marijuana sales in the state.

DeWine, who was reelected in 2022, told the Governor’s Executive Workforce Board “it would be a real mistake for us to have recreational marijuana,” according to Columbus TV station WSYX.

He made the comments about the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol campaign the same day the ballot initiative qualified for the upcoming election.

The Ohio ballot initiative’s qualification culminated a yearslong, drawn-out process that included lawsuits and tens of thousands of invalidated signatures.

If voters approve the measure, Ohio would be the third state to legalize marijuana in 2023, following in the footsteps of Delaware and Minnesota.

Both states legalized recreational cannabis via the legislative process.

Ohio would be the fifth Midwestern market to legalize possession and retail sales, following Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Minnesota.

Minnesota retail licenses are expected to be issued next year after regulators establish a framework for an adult-use program, with recreational sales launching sometime in 2025.

However, two Native American tribes not subject to state regulations already have begun adult-use sales.