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Cannabis Legal In Ohio But Still Nowhere to Purchase Cannabis Legally

Adult Ohioans are permitted to grow and possess cannabis at home but are uncertain regarding recreational marijuana as it remains illegal. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine urged lawmakers to establish guidelines for Issue 2, a citizen initiative approved by voters in November. Although the state Senate reached a last-minute deal before the law’s enactment, the Ohio House adjourned without addressing the matter.

Rep. Jamie Callender emphasized the lack of a specific deadline for implementing a legal sales framework, allowing home cultivation and possession to proceed as per voters’ wishes. He expressed the need for careful consideration and adequate time to address related complexities.

Rep. Bill Seitz defended the decision to adjourn without acting on pending legislation, stating that passing such a significant proposition in 48 hours is impractical. Lawmakers require time to navigate the complexities of establishing cannabis sales, taxation, and regulatory structures.

Gov. DeWine voiced concerns about potential issues, such as the flourishing black market or the accessibility of fentanyl- or pesticide-laced marijuana products. He described the current situation as a “recipe for disaster.”

The legislature had four months to act on the citizen-initiated statute last year. After the GOP-controlled Legislature chose inaction, Issue 2 appeared on the November ballot and passed with 57% support. The measure allows adults aged 21 and over to buy and possess cannabis, grow plants at home, and set up a legal marijuana purchase system within nine months, subject to a 10% tax.

With just days before the law took effect, Senate Republicans proposed changes that angered backers of the initiative. A compromise, approved by the Senate and negotiated with Gov. DeWine, retained home growing with limitations, a 15% tax on purchases, and adjustments to THC levels for cannabis extracts.

While the compromise addresses some concerns, including expunging criminal records for low-level possession, it still faces scrutiny. If lawmakers deviate significantly from voters’ approval, proponents of Issue 2 can pursue a referendum. This possibility should incentivize collaboration between legislators and advocates of more lenient marijuana laws.

Louis Tobin, executive director of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, noted that certain aspects of the new law can be immediately enforced. Despite the challenges in prosecuting individuals carrying less than 2.5 ounces of marijuana, law enforcement will remain vigilant for other infractions, such as driving under the influence or engaging in private sales.

“Adults Can Now Legally Possess and Grow Marijuana in Ohio — But There’s Nowhere to Buy It.” Www.Cbsnews.Com, 3 Feb. 2024, Accessed 3 Feb. 2024.