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Prohibited Areas for Marijuana Operators Across the State of Ohio

The law that legalized recreational use of cannabis in Ohio included a number of provisions prohibiting adult-use operators from locating within 500 feet of a church, public library, public playground, public park, or school. According to our analysis, the likely number of prohibited areas is over 18,000. Our map displays schools, churches, public libraries and select parks (not all locations could be identified) statewide, using a circular buffer from a specific geolocation to provide a look at prohibited zones for adult-use operators in the state.

Perspectives on The Constitution of the War on Drugs: A Collection of Posts from the Balkinization Blog

This collection of essays provides extended commentary from multiple law professors on David Pozen’s 2024 book, The Constitution of the War on Drugs. Pozen’s book provides a rich and astute perspective on a wide array of dynamic legal, political, and social stories at the intersection of constitutional jurisprudence and drug policy. Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin, recognizing the book engaged many historical and cutting-edge issues in the fields of constitutional law, criminal law and health law, invited professors in these fields to contribute to an online symposium on The Constitution of the War on Drugs hosted on his blog, Balkinization. This publication is a collection of these commentaries, with an introduction by Douglas A. Berman, Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law and executive director of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

Local Moratoriums for Ohio Adult Use Marijuana Operators

Like most other states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use, Ohio allows local jurisdictions to enact ordinances to prohibit or limit the operation of adult-use cannabis businesses within their boundaries, although they may not prohibit the operation of existing medical cannabis operators that are already located within their jurisdiction. Ohio jurisdictions have enacted 47 local moratoriums as of March 31, 2024. This resource provides more details about the moratoriums, their purposes and intents, and what localities should consider as Ohio implements its legal cannabis market.

Ohio Criminal Record Relief Options

Any type of criminal record can result in negative impacts for individuals. Even a single misdemeanor arrest or conviction can make it difficult to get a job or find housing. Ohio’s rights restoration laws aim to reduce the negative impacts of a criminal record. Ohio has several such mechanisms that provide criminal record relief. Among the most prominent are pardon, record sealing and expungement, and the certificate of qualification for employment (CQE). This resource gives a brief overview of some of those laws and provides information on how individuals with criminal records can take advantage of them. It also includes downloadable handouts for the purpose of public information, as well as related resources.

Mapping Cannabis Social Equity: Understanding How Ohio Compares to Other States' Post-Legalization Policies to Redress Past Harms

On November 7, 2023, Ohio became the 24th state in the nation to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. Following the lead of other states, the Ohio ballot initiative included social equity provisions designed to address past harm of marijuana criminalization by investing in disproportionately impacted communities and encouraging participation of such groups in the new legal cannabis industry. The purpose of this resource page and associated report is to highlight the varying strategies other states have deployed to fulfill social equity goals and to look at how Ohio’s new laws compare to others. At the bottom of the page, explore additional research and events related to cannabis social equity.

What Will Adult-Use Marijuana Legalization Mean for Ohio?

On November 7, 2023, Ohio became the 24th state to legalize adult-use cannabis with 57% of voters voting in favor of Issue 2, also known as An Act to Control and Regulate Adult Use Cannabis. This site aims to address questions that many people may be asking, such as when will recreational dispensaries open their doors or how much product will an individual be allowed to purchase, as well as more complex questions, such as what is the expected tax revenue going to be and how might marijuana legalization affect public health and public safety. The question-and-answer section of this resource is divided into the following subsections: adult-use recreational users, medical marijuana patients, cannabis industry, general questions, public safety impact and public health impact. Each subsection aims to help Ohioans better understand what cannabis legalization could mean for their communities.

More Data and Policy Analyses

Marijuana Reform and Taxes: How States Tax Adult Use Cannabis and Spend Resulting Revenue

On November 7, 2023, Ohio voters approved a ballot initiative (known as Issue 2) to make Ohio the 24th state to legalize recreational marijuana. The newly enacted statute, which becomes effective on December 7, 2023, establishes Chapter 3780 within the Ohio Revised Code. Among other things, the new law specifies how recreational marijuana will be taxed and how the resulting tax revenue will be allocated. Members of the Ohio General Assembly and Governor Mike DeWine have expressed interest in possible revisions to the ballot initiative’s tax rate and tax revenue allocations. This report seeks to inform discussion on these issues by detailing how the Ohio initiative’s tax and revenue structures compare to the other 23 states that have already fully legalized marijuana.

Cannabis Regulation 2.0

As the number of states with legalized medical or adult-use marijuana continues to expand, there is a pressing need for legal and regulatory frameworks to develop in a balanced and fair manner, building on experiences that help reveal best practices. This page includes policy resources from DEPC's own Distinguished Cannabis Policy Practitioners in Residence, as well as other experts in cannabis regulation, who have sought to provide informed guidance regarding cannabis regulatory regimes. The following papers, event recordings, and interviews are aimed at providing practical guidance for addressing some of the most important challenges facing the cannabis industry and those seeking to soundly regulate them—on topics including social equity, interstate commerce, banking access, monopoly prevention, and more.

Drugs on the Ballot: 2022

Ever since California voters legalized medical marijuana via ballot initiative in 1996, many advocates in the U.S. have embraced direct democracy as a means to bypass reluctant legislatures to advance marijuana legalization and broader drug policy reforms. Following the November 2022 midterm election, marijuana remains legal for medical use in 37 states. Of those, 18 states passed medical marijuana at the ballot box, including California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Maine, Nevada, Colorado, Montana, Michigan, Arizona, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Missouri, Utah and South Dakota. The other 19 passed medical marijuana via the legislature. Following the November 2022 midterm election, adult-use marijuana is now legal for consumption in 21 states. Of those, voters approved adult-use marijuana via ballot initiative in 14 states, including Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Massachusetts, Nevada, California, Maine, Michigan, Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and now both Maryland and Missouri. The remaining seven states passed adult-use marijuana via legislation. The 2022 ballot saw some psychedelic plants and fungi decriminalized in Colorado and adult-use marijuana legalized in two additional states: Maryland and Missouri. This page details the drug-related ballot initiatives that were voted on in November 2022 and provides a timeline of efforts to enact and implement drug policy reforms via the ballot box since 1996. It also provides information on the 2023 ballot initiative in Oklahoma, potential ballot measure efforts in Ohio, and the results of six Ohio localities that sought to decriminalize marijuana via local ordinances in November 2022.

Dealing in Lives: Imposition of Federal Life Sentences for Drugs from 1990–2020

The “tough on crime” era of the 1980s and 1990s ushered in a growing reliance on prisons, the ratcheting up of sentence lengths, and a broader expansion of the criminal justice system. Life sentences, historically rarely imposed, became increasingly commonplace in the 1980s through the 2000s, contributing to the ballooning imprisoned population. While there are growing concerns about the increased use of life sentences in the United States, there has been limited empirical study of these sentences. This report seeks to fill this gap with a particular focus on the federal sentencing system and the imposition of life sentences for drug offenses. Specifically, the current report documents federal life sentences imposed for drug trafficking over the last three decades, taking a closer look at the defendant and case-specific characteristics, and providing a descriptive account of the factors that are associated with those sentenced to life in prison in federal courts.

Five Decades of Marijuana Decriminalization

The topic of drug decriminalization has gained considerable attention in the United States after Oregon voted in November 2020 to decriminalize all drugs in that state. While we consider the possible impacts of broader drug decriminalization efforts, it is useful to look back at the five decades of marijuana decriminalization for lessons on effects and implementation. DEPC collected all state and local statutes on marijuana decriminalization and created an interactive map to illustrate the patchwork nature of the U.S. approach. The corresponding dataset is available for download.

Drug Sentencing Reform in Ohio

DEPC has gathered a variety of resources to aid in understanding the complex evolution of criminal justice and drug sentencing reforms in Ohio. The page includes a visualization of Ohio incarceration rates, a timeline of Ohio reforms since 2010, commentaries and writings, event recordings, research, and more.

Drug Reforms on the 2020 Ballot

On election day 2020, numerous drug policy and enforcement reforms appeared on state-level ballots. To gain a better understanding of what this election could mean for drug policy across the U.S., the center developed a list of key ballot initiatives reaching voters and how they fared.

2020 Presidential Candidates on Marijuana

Given the saliency of this issue leading up to the 2020 presidential election, the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) created a guide to presidential candidates’ stances concerning the reform of federal marijuana laws.

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Adding Firearm Rights Restoration to the Reentry Process for Individuals Convicted of Drug Offenses in Ohio
Abstract Summary

In this paper, it is argued that adding firearm rights restoration education to reentry planning could have an impact on recidivism (or future sentence length) for a meaningful number of individuals. In partial support of this argument, having weapons while under disability is also one of the most common convictions that lead to an Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction commitment. While some of those commitments may have involved additional convictions, it is reasonable to assume that a non-trivial number of individuals recidivate solely due to violations of the having weapons while under disability statute. Further, restoring firearm rights would also meaningfully reduce incarceration periods for those who recidivate because of other crimes (given that having weapons while under disability would not be included in the sentence along with the other crimes). The paper begins by providing an overview of Ohio’s having weapons while under disability statute, and a related federal law. Next, Ohio firearm rights restoration mechanisms are discussed. The paper concludes with recommendations for those that choose to pursue relief via Ohio Revised Code Section 2923.14. Finally, it is important to note that this paper takes no policy position on firearm rights in general. 

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Ohio’s Criminal Record Sealing Statute: The Need for Further Amendments After Senate Bill 288
Abstract Summary

Ohio Senate Bill 288 (134th General Assembly) is set to enact significant changes to Ohio’s rights restoration laws. One of those significant changes is the creation of an expungement process for those who possess criminal convictions. While expungement is logically a superior mechanism to record sealing, Senate Bill 288 mandates significant waiting times for those with felonies seeking expungement. Further, it is possible that prosecutors, judges, or victims will favor record sealing over expungement in particular cases. Therefore, record sealing may still be the most viable option for many individuals with criminal history. However, Senate Bill 288 failed to address important issues with Ohio’s record sealing provisions. An overview of these issues, and recommendations to address them, are presented in this paper.

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The Need to Amend Ohio’s Certificate of Qualification for Employment
Abstract Summary

Portions of Ohio’s Certificate of Qualification for Employment (CQE) statute (Revised Code Section 2953.25) are inconsistent with established policies and practices, cause unnecessary delays, and unnecessarily increase the financial costs associated with the processing of this mechanism. Proposed amendments, and reasons for proposed amendments, are presented in this paper.

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Adding an Affirmative Defense to Ohio’s Having Weapons While Under Disability Statute
Abstract Summary

Firearm injuries and deaths are a significant public health concern. One method to reduce firearm injuries and deaths is to enact laws that prohibit certain individuals from possessing or using firearms. One such law is Ohio Revised Code Section 2923.13 (having weapons while under disability), which prohibits various individuals from knowingly acquiring, having, carrying, or using any firearm or dangerous ordnance. Notably absent from the statute is a clear process for statutorily disabled individuals who come into knowing possession of a firearm or dangerous ordnance through no fault of their own and wish to relinquish possession responsibly and legally. This report proposes an amendment to Ohio Revised Code Section 2923.13 that seeks to effectuate an affirmative defense. Failing to add an affirmative defense to Ohio’s having weapons while under disability statute could promote unsafe disposal or disbursement of firearms and dangerous ordnances as statutorily disabled individuals who come into possession of such items through no fault of their own may fear contacting law enforcement under the current statute.

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An Alternative Revised Code Approach to Reduce Housing Barriers for those with Older Evictions in Ohio
Abstract Summary

In Ohio Senate Bill 158 (2021-2022), an eviction expungement was proposed. While this proposed legislation is certainly a commendable effort to address an important issue, the current formulation of the bill contains shortcomings that may hinder the overall objective of reducing housing barriers for those with evictions. The first section of this paper discusses issues with the current eviction expungement bill and proposes alternative approaches. The second section of this paper presents statutory language seeking to effectuate one of the alternative approaches.