YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio will consider whether to make recreational marijuana legal in the state this November.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced Wednesday that the issue has garnered enough signatures to appear on the ballot.

If approved, Ohio would join 23 other states that have legalized recreational marijuana use. After a state has legalized recreational marijuana statistics are gathered and those numbers provide a looking glass into what Ohio residents might expect if the measure is approved.

For instance, the University of Colorado took a look at changes in the state since marijuana was legalized there in 2012. It’s a $2 billion industry. It found that legalization increases usage by about 24%. And while the research shows that many of the ill effects that were forewarned did not come to pass, however the health impacts on younger groups of users are a concern while their brains are still developing.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana use is at an all-time high among adults 19 to 30. The percentage of those reporting past-year marijuana use and daily marijuana use was 44% in 2022, it was 35% in 2017 and 28% in 2012.

The Colorado Division of Criminal Justice published a report following legislation there looking at crime, impaired driving, hospitalizations, ER visits, usage and effects on youth. Some expected changes were reported. Marijuana arrests were down 68%, but marijuana indicated in crashes increased from 12% of all DUIs in 2014 to 31% in 2020. Increased training of troopers and law enforcement officers was needed to detect cannabis use, an issue that is sure to be part of Ohio’s plan if marijuana is legalized. Right now, Ohio does not have a test for marijuana use that could be compared to the breath test currently used by law enforcement.

An unexpected change was that while marijuana usage increased for adults in Colorado, there was not a significant increase in youth.

More recently, Illinois legalized recreational marijuana in 2020. Expectedly, revenue has soared. Research on changes there is ongoing. The mayor of Chicago announced in 2022 the launch of the Cannabis Research Institute which will “inform regulation and policy to protect public health and safety; stimulate medical, scientific, and technology advancement; and address societal questions about the impacts of new markets and policies,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot wrote.

The Cannabis Research Institute will partner with the DEA, among other entities, to conduct its research. Marijuana still remains illegal on the federal level, and President Joe Biden has promised reform, specifically looking at how the drug is scheduled under federal law.

Federal law currently classifies marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the classification meant for the most dangerous substances.  This is the same schedule as for heroin and LSD, and even higher than the classification of fentanyl and methamphetamine