Ohio became the 24th state to legalize adult-use cannabis and three other states could make recreational pot legal in 2024.
Voters legalized recreational cannabis in Ohio through a ballot measure on November 7, making the Buckeye State the 24th in the U.S. where adults 21 and older can possesses marijuana legally.
Ohio became the third state to legalize this year after Delaware and Minnesota. The state already has a robust medical cannabis market, which is expected to hit $520 million in sales this year, according to industry data firm BDSA. The adult-use market is slated to launch by the end of 2024 and could generate $1.65 billion in sales by 2027, according to BDSA.
With “ruby red” Ohio flipping to green, more than 50% of Americans live in a state where marijuana is legal, even though the federal government still outlaws the drug and considers it as dangerous as heroin. Paul Armentano, deputy director of nonprofit marijuana legalization advocacy group NORML, believes Ohio legalizing adult-use is a tipping point. “For the first time since the federal government initiated cannabis prohibition in 1937, more people now live in a place where marijuana is state legal, than reside somewhere it’s illegal,” says Armentano.
And he is not surprised that a conservative state like Ohio passed a cannabis legalization ballot measure with 57% of the vote. “When voters have the opportunity to go to the polls and decide whether they want marijuana legal, or whether they want to maintain prohibition, virtually every time they choose in favor of expanding freedom and civil liberties to responsible adults,” he adds.
Currently, 24 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational use for adults 21 years and older,