Ohio Might Gut Legal Marijuana Bill 3 Days Before It Starts
In early November, Ohio voted for, and passed Its "Issue 2" bill that effectively legalizes recreational marijuana, expanding from just a medicinal state, to a fully legal state. It was a huge victory with around 55% of the state voting "Yes" on the bill.
The day after the election, Republicans in the state swore they would find a way to repeal the vote that ultimately proved unsuccessful. However, they may have succeeded in gutting the bill just days before it was put into effect.
Three days before Issue 2 is set to be enacted, a Senate General Government Committee in Ohio voted 4-1 to include a set of provisions that drastically changes the bill. It also made changes in an unrelated alcohol measure.
The provisions in Issue 2, approved through a general election in November, allowed for the cultivation of up to six marijuana plants at a private residence for those 21 and older, and you could possess up to 2.5 oz. of marijuana, and 15 grams of marijuana concentrates.
"The law mandates that the Division of Cannabis Control, a newly established branch of the Department of Commerce, issue marijuana business licenses within nine months."
But, changes made on Monday drastically change the provisions. Under these new rules, the possession limit is reduced to 1 oz., and reduces the cap on THC to 25% for flower and 50% for concentrates. It would also remove the ability to have ANY plants in a private residence.
Senator William DeMora isn't pleased with the committee's decision.
"From my mind, the voters' intent is nowhere to be found in this - What I call a shell of what the voters passed. More than half the people that voted for this, voted because of home growth, and so taking that away from what the voters clearly wanted is something that I have a huge problem with."
The committee intends to declare their revisions an emergency change to the bill, and plan to fast-track it up to Governor Mike DeWine's desk to be signed before the current rendition of Issue 2 goes into effect.
Spokesman, and supporter of Issue 2, Tom Haren says what state officials are doing isn't part of what a true democratic process is.
"The Democratic Process is not an emergency. members of the Ohio Senate should shelve this proposal, and instead implement the results of a free and fair election in accordance with their duties as public servants. Voters deserve to have the core components of Issue 2 respected by their elected officials with any changes being made only after robust opportunity for debate and participation by the general public."
The bill could come to a vote as soon as Wednesday for the State Senate and House of Representatives. It would then immediately be sent to Gov. DeWine's desk for his signature.
Issue 2 is expected to go into effect on Dec. 7th.
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