OHIO – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is backing a plan that would permit the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries to expand their offerings to include recreational marijuana for individuals aged 21 and older, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The proposed alterations come a month after Ohio voters decisively legalized marijuana with a 57-43% majority, making Ohio the 24th state to do so.
The Ohio Senate, in a 28-2 vote, put forth a series of revisions, including limitations on home cultivation to six plants per household, a reduction in THC levels from 90% to 35% for plant material and 50% for extracts, and a 15% sales tax on marijuana, with the option for counties to add an additional 3%.
While DeWine respects voter will, negotiations over legislation, leadership disputes, and differing opinions among lawmakers pose hurdles to immediate implementation. House Minority Leader Allison Russo acknowledges Senate improvements but urges further progress to align with voter sentiments.
The bill, if enacted, would take effect 90 days later, leaving Ohioans legally able to consume cannabis on Thursday but without a legal avenue for purchase. Governor DeWine and other lawmakers are urging swift passage of the changes to avoid potential issues associated with a delayed legal market, emphasizing the need to prevent the black market from gaining an advantage.
“We understand that we have to protect that access to products while also not allowing the black market to get a head start on the legal market,” said Sen. Rob McColley, R-Napoleon. “It is our intention to allow the legal market to go into effect as soon as possible.”
Governor DeWine, who initially voted against Issue 2 and has expressed opposition to cannabis legalization, emphasized that the proposed changes align with the voters’ will, even though he personally prefers no home cultivation. Meanwhile, negotiations between the Ohio House and Senate are ongoing.
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