Ohio medical marijuana companies are backing a brand new effort to legalize hashish for wider use.
However in contrast to the failed 2015 legalization effort, they are not going to attempt to put it within the state Structure.
As a substitute, they’ve drafted a state regulation and plan to place it earlier than legislators first earlier than taking it to the voters.
“We predict we’ve got a proposal right here that checks all of the bins,” mentioned Cleveland-area hashish legal professional Tom Haren, who’s the spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.
Supporters of the measure deliberate to show in an preliminary batch of 1,000 signatures and proposed language to the Ohio legal professional basic’s workplace Tuesday. The legal professional basic has 10 days to overview the abstract of the proposed regulation that seems on petitions to ensure it’s a “truthful and truthful” illustration of the measure.
Supporters will finally have to gather 132,887 signatures of registered Ohio voters to place the measure earlier than the Legislature.
Lawmakers will then have 4 months to cross, reject or cross an amended model of the statute. If they do not cross the invoice, supporters can accumulate one other 132,887 signatures to put it on a statewide poll, seemingly in November 2022.
What the invoice would do
The proposal would enable Ohioans age 21 and older to purchase and possess 2.5 ounces of hashish and 15 grams of concentrates and develop as much as six crops in safe areas at dwelling, in line with language obtained by USA TODAY Community Ohio.
A ten% tax can be utilized, with proceeds going to native municipalities with marijuana companies, substance abuse and habit applications and operations for this system. Native governments may prohibit or restrict marijuana companies from finding of their communities.
The language grandfathers within the current medical marijuana program and permits the state’s current 34 cultivators, 47 processors and 58 dispensaries to acquire licenses for the leisure market virtually solely for the primary two years.
The invoice establishes 40 new cultivation licenses and 50 further dispensary licenses for “social fairness” candidates, who’re deprived economically and by belonging to a racial or ethnic minority or by having their lives or households affected by fees for marijuana crimes.
Haren mentioned that may enable the leisure facet to rise up and operating rapidly and forestall over saturation available in the market. He famous the invoice does not set any laborious caps on licenses; state regulators with the Ohio Division of Commerce would determine whether or not to supply extra licenses to satisfy demand.
“You’ll want to strike the fitting stability between offering entry to Ohio customers whereas stopping diversion and oversupply,” Haren mentioned.
Haren declined to call particular person backers however mentioned the language was reviewed by nationwide specialists and advocacy teams and has the help of “a broad coalition.”
Ohio’s conservative legislature reluctantly legalized medical marijuana in 2016 and has proven little curiosity since in both modifying the extremely regulated program or increasing it.
Earlier this month, a pair of Democratic state lawmakers introduced they had drafted a legalization bill, which might be the primary thought-about in Ohio. Haren, a former Republican candidate for the Ohio Senate, mentioned there’s bipartisan help for the problem.
He mentioned he thinks his group’s proposal will cross the Legislature and never need to go to the poll. Why? There’s speak on the federal degree of now not classifying marijuana as a managed substance, which might trickle all the way down to Ohio, leaving the state with no regulatory construction.
“If you happen to speak to individuals, Ohioans see full legalization for grownup use as inevitable and we don’t need the state to be caught flat footed,” he mentioned.
Earlier this month, a spokesman for Gov. Mike DeWine confirmed the Republican governor doesn’t help legalization.
This story will likely be up to date.
Jackie Borchardt is the bureau chief for the USA TODAY Community Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 different affiliated information organizations throughout Ohio.