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Two Democratic state representatives formally introduced a bill Wednesday sponsored by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.
Rep. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) and Terrence Upchurch (D-Cleveland) are behind the bill.
The Coalition submitted petition language along with 207,000 signatures to the legislature.
According to a press release from the representatives, if the General Assembly fails to act and pass the measure within the four-month deadline prescribed by the Ohio Constitution, the Coalition can collect additional signatures to submit the proposal directly to voters in November.
“Marijuana legalization is overdue in Ohio,” said Rep. Weinstein in a press release.
“Legalizing cannabis would create good-paying jobs and generate significant revenue for our state,” added Rep. Upchurch.
So just how much money would cannabis raise in tax revenue if legalized?
A policy paper from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law aims to answer that question.
The analysis used Michigan fiscal year 2021 data on cannabis tax revenue as a focal point for Ohio estimates due to the demographic and tax structure similarities, using state population figures as the basis for calculating per capita cannabis tax revenue rates.
What they found: The potential annual tax revenue from adult-use cannabis in Ohio ranges from $276 million to $374 million in year five of operations.
The policy paper noted that it made conservative estimates and that different tax structures could produce different outcomes.
House Bill 382 would levy a 10% adult-use sales tax on products with revenue going toward substance abuse and addiction research, social equity and job creation.
It would allow for cannabis cultivation, possession and use by adults 21 and older.
House Bill 382 is awaiting its first hearing in the House Finance Committee.
According to the policy paper, their analysis says it is reasonable to expect that Ohio would collect hundreds of millions in annual cannabis tax revenues, regardless of the tax structure.
However, the tax revenue collected would only account for a small percentage of Ohio’s $60 billion budget.
The paper does not examine job creation with cannabis legalization.
A poll released Wednesday by CBS News and YouGov shows that 66% of participants believe marijuana use should be federally legal.
Marijuana is illegal at the federal level but is legalized recreationally in 18 states and the District of Columbia.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation that would legalize marijuana on the federal level.