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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio take a step forward

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The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted signatures to the Ohio Secretary of State on Monday, an important step in its process to get state lawmakers to review potential legislation seeking to legalize recreational marijuana in the state.

proposed Legislation would legalize and regulate “The cultivation, manufacture, testing and sale of marijuana and marijuana products” to persons 21 years of age and older. Ohioans will also be allowed to grow marijuana plants indoors, with a maximum of six plants per person and 12 per household.

The coalition said it has submitted 206,943 signatures to Secretary of State Frank LaRose and is waiting for county election boards to verify those signatures. It needs at least 132,877 valid signatures and must ensure it has met a statutory limit in 44 counties for the legislation to be introduced before the Ohio General Assembly.

“It’s really the first step to getting our proposal before the General Assembly,” said Tom Harren, a spokesman for the Alliance to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. The General Assembly will have four months to enact our proposal, and we are confident that it will happen. We think it’s the right thing to do. It’s something we focus on with lasers.”

If the General Assembly does not pass the bill, organizers will have to gather another 132,877 to ensure the law can be in next November’s ballot, allowing voters to decide whether it becomes law.

“The success of our petitions campaign shows how excited Ohioans are to end prohibition and legalize adult use of marijuana,” Harren said. “We look forward to receiving the results of the Secretary of State’s review, and we look forward to beginning to work with lawmakers on this important issue.”

This is now at least the third effort this year to try to persuade lawmakers in Columbus to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults in Ohio.

Two Democrats in the Ohio House of Representatives He came up with a bill like that during the summer. On the other side of the aisle, two Republican members of the House of Representatives Submit their own suggestion For a marijuana legalization bill in October.

“This has never happened in the history of the country,” Harren said. “We think it shows this is an issue that is gaining traction.”

MedicateOH, an organization that educates patients about medical marijuana in Ohio and advocates for the use of the plant, is closely monitoring various legalization efforts.

“There is a lot going on in Ohio legislation right now,” said Gabriel Dion Vesca, founder and publisher of Medicata Ohio. “The devil is really going to be in the details as to what support goes and where and how that really works.”

She said legalizing marijuana for adult use would likely be a big boost for small businesses currently operating in the legal world of CBD and hemp-based products.

“What a program like this would do is fairly level the playing field and allow some of the little guys here in Ohio to have a chance to run their own stores,” Dion Vesca said.

A proposed 10% sales tax on marijuana and marijuana products under this law would help fund social justice programs, jobs, addiction treatment efforts, and support communities where adult marijuana dispensaries are allowed.


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