Ohio is gunning to be the fifth state to legalize marijuana and it might happen sooner than you’d think. 

Unlike states still struggling to put marijuana legalization to a vote, Ohio has a referendum scheduled for November 3rd to pass Issue 3. In short, this bill would allow anyone over the age of 21 to obtain medicinal marijuana with a doctor's note or buy it for recreational purposes. They would also be able to grow up to four flowering plants at a time with a cultivation license. While all of this is incredibly exciting, it hasn’t happened overnight—political groups representing the rights of cannabis users have been working tirelessly to help Ohio get to this place. Here's why Ohio is one of the leaders in promoting a progressive attitude towards cannabis.

1. ResponsibleOhio

ResponsibleOhio is the core of the marijuana reform movement in the state. This group of involved citizens have helped provide a "responsible marijuana reform program for Ohio," and are working relentlessly to find a way to legalize cannabis for both medicinal and recreational uses. After drafting proposals and working with the government to find a way to get them off of the ground, they took to the streets to collect signatures that would allow them to pass their proposal, Issue 3, into law. After bringing 695,000 signatures to the state government by the deadline, they were given a 10-day extension to gather 30,000 more, reaching the required number to put the issue to a vote. The hours and effort put in by these political advocates and passionate volunteers under the umbrella of ResponsibleOhio have made legalization a potential reality.

2. Buddie

Every great cause needs a superhero and Buddie found his calling with Ohio’s marijuana reform movement. As ResponsibleOhio’s mascot, this friendly bud traveled to various universities and city centers around Ohio to educate the community on Issue 3 and Buddie’s very own “21 and Up Club.” It’s a controversial political play, reminiscent of the now-banned Joe Camel cartoon. But hey, what major political change hasn’t been met with some form of controversy? Legal marijuana’s very own superhero doesn’t exist to get kids to try cannabis; it’s a political move targeted to voters aged 18 and up. Issue 3 needs young representation at the polls and while the older generation did a lot of the work to get Ohio to where it is, a guy in a cannabis suit just might be the ticket to a victory at the polls this fall.

3. It’s Already Moderately Decriminalized

Ohio has already relaxed its cannabis-related punishments considerably, with possession of less than 100 grams resulting in a misdemeanor, no jail time and a miniscule $150 fine. Anything over 200 grams is still a felony, but if an individual has more than that much cannabis on their person then it can be assumed that they're likely not using it for recreational purposes anyways. Decriminalization is the first step to legalization and since Ohio has already made this move, the next step is approaching quickly.

4. A Majority is in Favor of Legalization

This point is pretty straight forward. Thanks to all of the hard work that ResponsibleOhio and other political advocacy groups have done, recent polls indicate that Ohio has a 52% majority in favor of legalization. Even though this is a very slim margin, it’s still quite promising. With encouragement from the states that have already legalized combined with the momentum of the present movement in Ohio, November may be the time the state joins the ranks of its green neighbors.

What these facts show is that hard work pays off. With a majority of Ohio residents in favor of legalization, bolstered by a superhero mascot and a lot of momentum, there seems to be no stopping Ohio from legalizing cannabis for everyone over the age of 21. If you’re looking to enjoy a ‘green’ Christmas this year, start planning your winter vacation accordingly.