A constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana could lead to more than $550 million in annual tax revenue, according to some of the amendment's supporters.
ResponsibleOhio, a committee trying to legalize marijuana for personal and medicinal use in Ohio, released initial tax revenue projections for its legalization proposal, saying the plan could generate $554 million each year, according to Cleveland.com.
Under the proposal, marijuana would be taxed 15 percent at production and manufacturing facilities and 5 percent at retail locations. Tax revenues would be used toward local governments, addiction services and marijuana research.
According to Cleveland.com, county and local governments would receive $476 million of the estimated $554 million annual tax revenue. The remaining $78 million would be used in addiction prevention services, care for medical patients, marijuana law enforcement and research.
ResponsibleOhio estimates more than 269 tons of recreational and medical marijuana would be used in Ohio each year beginning in 2020, the year it is predicting the new market will stabilize. The amendment would legalize purchase, possession and use of up to 1 ounce for adults over age 21 and medical marijuana patients.
Although states throughout the country are reforming their marijuana laws, the substance still is illegal in Ohio and through federal law. This means a person currently in possession of the substance in almost any form, no matter the amount, could face marijuana charges.
If a person is charged with possession of marijuana for the first time, according to Ohio Revised Code §2925.11, the penalties would be determined by the amount of marijuana allegedly in his or her possession. If the person has a clean criminal record, there may be a chance to have his or her record sealed.
If a person is accused of possessing less than 200 grams of marijuana, he or she could face misdemeanor possession charges. Although this offense may seem minor, it can carry up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine. This also could mean a criminal record, which could affect a person's ability to secure a job.
Consequences for felony possession of marijuana charges in Ohio are much more severe and can have serious consequences. In Ohio, possession of more than 200 grams of marijuana is a felony. The minimum charge for felonious possession of marijuana can result in a 12-month jail sentence.
The more marijuana a person is accused of possessing, the more severe the charge. For instance, if a person is accused of having more than 20,000 grams of marijuana, he or she could face second-degree felony charges, resulting in a mandatory eight-year prison sentence and $15,000 in fines.
In most instances, the charges and corresponding penalties for marijuana crimes are determined by the amount of marijuana involved in the alleged offense. Other serious marijuana charges in Ohio could include:
- Possession with intent to sell
- Trafficking in marijuana
It is important to know the current laws in your state and the states around you. Although some areas of the country, such as Colorado, have made recreational and medical marijuana legal, it still is a criminal offense in most parts of the country. Any charge of possession, trafficking or cultivating could mean severe criminal penalties.
If you have been charged with a marijuana offense in Ohio, you should consult a Columbus marijuana defense attorney. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you build a strong defense in your case and fight the accusations against you.