Which States will Legalize Marijuana this Year and Next?

Responsible Ohio spokeswoman Lydia Bolander says the initiative’s limit on commercial producers is designed to facilitate regulation and insure that “those individuals are ready and willing to start production as soon as possible.” She adds that there will be many other opportunities for people to make money in the newly legal cannabis industry. The amendment, Bolander says, allows “one retail store per 10,000 residents statewide, which would give us about 1,100 retail stores that could be licensed throughout the state.” (By comparison, Washington, with a population about 40 percent smaller than Ohio’s, plans to license just 352 retailers.) Bolander adds that newcomers are welcome in edible manufacturing, pot testing, and “peripheral businesses in the supply chain.”

Local governments also stand to benefit financially from marijuana legalization, since they will get 85 percent of the revenue from the taxes specified in the amendment: 15 percent of gross revenue received by growers and marijuana product manufacturers, plus 5 percent of gross revenue received by retailers. By contrast, the states that have legalized marijuana so far are taxing it based either on price or weight. “You can’t play a game with what your gross revenue is,” Bolander explains, “and that insures that the tax revenue will be collected and it will go where it’s supposed to go.”

If voters approve the constitutional amendment, which in Ohio requires only a simple majority, it will be the first time a state without a medical marijuana law legalizes the drug for general use. Under current law, possessing even the tiniest amount of marijuana, no matter the reason, is a misdemeanor; as little as 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) can lead to a jail sentence; and twice that amount is a felony. It’s not clear whether Ohioans are ready to leap from that system to one in which not only consumption but production and distribution (provided they are authorized) do not trigger any punishment at all.

– Read the entire article at Forbes.