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Ohio Cannabis Testing Impacts: Residents Vote to Legalize Recreational Cannabis November 2023

On November 7, 2023, Ohio voters passed a marijuana legalization ballot initiative, legalizing recreational cannabis in the state. Because this was a voter initiative the legislature may still choose to adjust or, in rare cases, even repeal the initiative. The measure in its entirety can be found here.

This measure legalizes and regulates recreational cannabis for adults aged 21 and older. Adults can possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis, up to 15 grams of cannabis concentrates, and can cultivate up to six cannabis plants at home (up to 12 per household). This will become effective 30 days after approval, which is December 7th, 2023. Distribution facilities will take up to 9 months to be licensed beyond the December effective date.

Ohio Recreational Cannabis Legalization in the Workplace does not:

  • Require employers to permit/accommodate the use, possession, or distribution of cannabis.
  • Prohibit employers from refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, or taking other adverse employment action in terms of hiring, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of an individual’s use, possession, or distribution of cannabis.
  • Prohibit employers from establishing/enforcing drug testing policies, drug-free workplace policies, and/or zero-tolerance drug policies. Interfere with federal employment restrictions, including federal Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations.
  • Permit individuals to commence a cause of action against an employer for refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, discriminating, retaliating, or taking other adverse employment action against an individual with respect to hiring, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment related to that individual’s use of cannabis.
  • Impact the authority of workplace’ compensation program administrators to grant rebates or discounts on premium rates to employers that participate in a drug-free workplace program.

Additionally, any individuals discharged because of their cannabis use are considered to have been discharged for just cause of purposes of unemployment benefits eligibility if the individual’s use of cannabis was in violation of an employer drug or related cannabis policy. The measure prohibits operating a vehicle, motor vehicle, streetcar, trackless trolley, bike, watercraft, or aircraft while using or under the influence of cannabis, which may impact some workplaces. Employers should review and update their policies prior to this Ballot Measure’s effective date in December 2023.


The foregoing commentary is not offered as legal advice but is instead offered for informational purposes. First Advantage is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice.  The foregoing commentary is therefore not intended as a substitute for the legal advice of an attorney knowledgeable of the user’s individual circumstances or to provide legal advice. First Advantage makes no assurances regarding the accuracy, completeness, currency, or utility of the following information. Regulatory developments and impacts are continuing to evolve in this area.

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