Ohio Senate Republicans are trying to change Ohio’s marijuana law before it takes effect

Ohio Senate Republicans are trying to change Ohio’s marijuana law before it takes effect

Ohio Senate Republicans are trying to significantly change the state’s marijuana law before it takes effect Thursday.

despite of Ohioans pass version 2 with 57% of the votethe The Ohio Senate General Government Committee approved a replacement bill Monday morning that would, among other things, eliminate home growth as well as raise the tax rate, change how revenue funds are used, and lower tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels.

Sen. Rob McCauley, R-Napoleon, added proposed marijuana law changes to House Bill 86. HB 86 – which was introduced earlier this year by Rep. Jeff Leary, R-Violet Twp., will revise the state’s liquor control laws and passed the Ohio House of Representatives in the summer with little opposition.

“This is language regarding changes to the adult use marijuana program that are intended to address a variety of issues that we felt were the best public policy for the state of Ohio.” McCauley said before addressing the many changes.

But Ohio Senate Democrats are concerned that these proposed changes are not what voters want.

“Some adjustments to the law may be necessary, but many of the proposed changes are egregious and could frustrate the will of the people, who voted decisively for the second issue,” said Senate Minority Leader Nikki J. Antonio, D-Lakewood. He said in a statement.

“I hope we can continue to work together to ultimately come to a policy that respects what Ohioans voted for.”

Sen. Bill Dimora, D-Columbus, criticized eliminating home growth, rewriting the tax structure and changing how money is distributed.

“The intent of the voters cannot be found in this matter, which is what I call a cover-up of what the voters approved,” he said.

Tom Haren, spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, criticized lawmakers for trying to “pass this bill in a rushed process.”

“Some in the Ohio Senate are proposing to repeal the most important provisions of Issue 2, including home cultivation and social equity, and impose higher taxes that would entrench the illicit market and force Ohioans to continue purchasing their cannabis products in Michigan.” He said.

How would the Senate bill change marijuana law in Ohio?

The second issue was accepted by 10%. Tax at the point of sale for each transaction, which McCauley said he was going to put OhioAt a minimum” compared to the rest of the country.

The bill raises the tax rate to 15% Imposing a 15% tax on farmers. TRevenue projections will reach $262 million annually once the program is fully operational, McCauley said.

“The bright side…is that marijuana has always operated on the black market,” McCauley said. “This is an opportunity for the state of Ohio, if done right, to try to eliminate the black market to the greatest extent possible, and then also put in place a program to make sure Ohioans have accessible, affordable and safe marijuana products to purchase.”

BUCKEY LAKE, OHIO – AUGUST 17: Roger Davis of Grove City works to remove fan leaves from around flowers before drying marijuana plants, on August 17, 2023, at the PharmaCann, Inc. cultivation and processing facility. In Buckeye Lake, Ohio. . (Photo by Graham Stokes for the Ohio Capital Journal. Image republished with original story only.)

A higher tax rate means higher prices for consumers.

How revenue funds are allocated would also change if passed. Issue 2’s ballot language creates five funds in the state treasury: the Adult Use Tax Fund, the Cannabis Social Justice and Job Opportunity Fund, the Host Community Cannabis Fund, the Substance Abuse and Addiction Fund, and the Cannabis Control and Tax Commissioner’s Zoning Fund.

Under the bill, 45% would go to the Ohio General Revenue Fund for state operations, 30% to law enforcement training, 15% to the Marijuana Abuse Treatment and Prevention Fund, and 10% to safe driver training. finance.

THC levels will change from 35% for plant materials, 90% for extracts, 25% for plant materials, and 50% for extracts.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes proposed is the elimination of home growing. As he wrote, Legal Home Grow Version 2 is for Ohio residents 21 and older Maximum of six plants per person and 12 plants per residence.

“Frankly, there are members, even on our side of the aisle, who would like to add home-grown allotments,” McCauley said. “There are a number of members who are very adamant that home growing is just a way for the black market to continue to thrive. One of the goals here is to eliminate as much of the black market as possible.”

Cities, towns and villages could also ban marijuana growers, processors and dispensaries from operating in their jurisdiction under the bill. But this will not prevent consumption.

There will also be a ban on smoking in public places and smoking will only be permitted in a private residence, but landlords will be able to prohibit the use Marijuana.

Ads may not target children by displaying things such as cartoon characters, fictional characters, animals, and fruits.

Employers will be able to ban Marijuana Use it and use it as a reason not to hire a potential employee.

The second version capped the number of dispensaries allowed at one time at 350, but the bill reduced that to 230.

“To put that in perspective, that’s more medical marijuana dispensaries than Kroger grocery stores in Ohio,” McCauley said. there 195 Kroger grocery stores in OhioAccording to the supermarket’s website.

Ohio House bill proposed changes to marijuana law

This isn’t the only bill in the Statehouse trying to change Ohio’s adult-use program.

Rep. Gary Click, R-Vickrey, introduced House Bill 341 last week — which would change how revenue funds are allocated and allow municipalities to ban marijuana dispensaries and home grows.

Follow OCJ Reporter Megan Henry on Twitter.

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