On Thursday, a pair of Ohio Republican lawmakers introduced a bill to legalize marijuana in the state. The move comes as activists near the completion of the first phase of their signature campaign for the cannabis legalization initiative.
Representatives Jimmy Callender (right) and Ron Ferguson (right) first They announced their plan to advance the legislative reform proposal In October a joint sponsorship memorandum was distributed to mobilize support for the measure. Now they are moving forward with the official introduction of the Ohio Adult Employment Act.
The bill would allow adults age 21 and older to purchase and possess up to 50 grams of cannabis. It can also grow up to six plants, only three of which can be mature, for personal use.
Unpaid adult consumers are also allowed to offer up to 25 grams of marijuana.
Cannabis products used for adults will be taxed at 10 percent. After covering administrative costs, tax revenue will be distributed as follows: 50 percent for the state’s general fund, 25 percent for combating illicit drug trafficking and 25 percent for substance abuse treatment programs.
The state Department of Commerce will be responsible for regulating the new adult marijuana use and existing medical cannabis program and issuing commercial licenses through a new Marijuana Control Department.
Regulators will be limited to approving one retail cannabis dispensary license for every 60,000 residents in the state through January 1, 2027. After that point, the department will be required to review the program “on a minimum bi-annual basis” to see if more licensees are needed.
The legislation It does not contain specific provisions to promote social justice by striking out previous convictions of cannabis or prioritizing licensing for the most affected communities under ban. This is despite Callender saying in October that there will be a path of purges “for people who have previous convictions which will not be illegal after this law is passed”.
A spokesperson for the legislator’s office told Marijuana Moment that while these components were not included in this submitted version, “the plan remains to add any required language on the topic once it has been submitted to the committee.”
“Talks about adjustments are continuing but with Thanksgiving here and towards the end of the year we wanted to get the ball rolling with an introduction,” he said.
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At least one stock requirement requires regulators to conduct a study prior to issuance of adult use licenses “to determine whether there has been prior discrimination in marijuana-related licensing in this state, including whether the effects of marijuana bans have contributed to the non-participation of racial minorities or Ethnicity in the medical marijuana industry in this state.”
If the study finds evidence of discrimination, “the administration shall take the necessary and appropriate measures to remedy and remedy any specific discrimination when issuing licenses.”
Under the bill, employers would still be able to enforce anti-drug policies without absorbing workers who use cannabis in accordance with state law.
The measure will also expand the amount of land that licensed growers can use to grow cannabis from what is now permitted under the medical marijuana program.
Furthermore, the legislation includes a section that would have the state formally ratify a bill in Congress to repeal the scheduling of marijuana. Sponsored by Representative Dave Joyce (Republic of Ohio).
a The separate state legalization law that was the first of its kind It will be introduced in the Ohio legislature earlier this year that would similarly legalize the possession, sale, and cultivation of cannabis by adults. It is backed by Representatives Casey Weinstein (D) and Terrence Abchurch (D), and it already includes disqualification provisions.
A recent legislative study found that state Republican lawmakers They are more supportive of the legalization of marijuana of their fellow Democrats.
But leadership in the legislature, as well as Governor Mike DeWine (right), are likely to pose obstacles to any entertainment legalization bill that advances.
House Speaker Robert Cope (right) laughed when asked about Callender’s legislation after its initial announcement, though he added, “Let’s just see where it goes. I haven’t read it yet.”
Callender said that although Republican and governor legislative leaders have not yet joined the post, “there is more bipartisan support than most people think.”
Meanwhile, Ohio activists recently said they will have enough signatures Force the legislature to consider legalizing marijuana end of November. Weinstein said he believes citizen-led efforts can help build momentum for a legislative approach to ending prohibition.
While it’s only been a few months for Ohio officials Purge the campaign to collect signatures For the measure, Marijuana Like Alcohol Regulatory Alliance spokesman Tom Harren said the initial wave of signature collection “will likely be completed at the end of November.” There is no word yet on whether they have made it through that timeline.
A measure that lawmakers would then be asked to consider would legalize possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis for adults 21 and older, and they could also have up to 15 grams of marijuana concentrate. Individuals can grow up to six plants for personal use, with a maximum of 12 plants per family.
Activists must collect 132,887 valid signatures from registered voters for the legal initiative during this first phase of the effort. If they are successful, the legislature will have four months to adopt the measure, reject it, or adopt an amended version. If lawmakers do not approve the proposal, then regulators will need to collect an additional 132,887 signatures to put the proposal before voters on the ballot in November 2022.
Which further indicates the desire for reform in Ohio, voters in seven cities Approval of polling procedures to decriminalize marijuana possession During last month’s elections.
Marijuana activists in Ohio have also managed to prove it Handed out enough valid signatures to set up a local decriminalization initiative Kent has accepted voters after it missed the 2021 ballot due to a verification error on the part of county officials.
Separately, Ohio senators recently introduced a bill to Expanding the state’s medical cannabis program, at the party by allowing doctors to recommend marijuana if they “reasonably” believed it could benefit the patient.
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