Last week, the governor of Ohio urged legislators to revise the state’s cannabis legalization law before adult possession and cultivation became legal in December. The measure in question, Issue 2, was approved by voters a few days prior. Gov. Mike DeWine appealed to GOP leadership in the legislature to amend provisions that would limit public consumption, alleviate risk of impaired driving and restrict advertising.
The governor has already scheduled a meeting with House Speaker Jason Stephens and Senate President Matt Huffman to discuss how to address what he terms as “holes” in this statutory measure. In his statement, the governor stated that while individuals could now smoke marijuana having been afforded the right to by the initiative, other individuals had a right to not be exposed to the smell of marijuana.
Both Stephens and Huffman have already talked about their independent interests in amending the marijuana law, centering on tax policy and limits of THC. The approved measure, Issue 2, already contains restrictions on the consumption of marijuana in public as individuals are prohibited from smoking cannabis in places where the smoking of tobacco is not allowed.
The governor’s aim may be to clarify or expand the law’s provisions on consumption, which needs to be done soon, given the limited time remaining to act on this before the legislation takes effect.
Some believe that this move does not respect the will of the voters, however, with Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol spokesperson Tom Haren noting that he couldn’t believe elected officials weren’t respecting the outcome of an election.
The coalition is focused on establishing regulatory frameworks to allow individuals aged 21 years of age and older to grow, possess and buy marijuana in Ohio. Haren added that every voter in the state of Ohio had a right to expect that elected officials would respect and implement their will.
This sentiment was also echoed by Representative Casey Weinstein, who sponsored the bipartisan legalization measure and championed for marijuana reform in the legislature. Weinstein stated in a recent interview that voters in Ohio were very clear at the ballot, noting that legislators needed to heed the call and uphold the will of the voters.
Following the resolution’s approval, the Ohio Department of Commerce published an FAQ guide for residents to learn about the new law and timeline for implementation. However, regulators continued to emphasize that the policies may be subject to change depending on how the legislature acts.
Regardless of the final form that the legalization law takes, Ohio entrepreneurs could finally have a chance to start and run recreational marijuana companies that grow to reach the level of entities such as Trulieve Cannabis Corp. (CSE: TRUL) (OTCQX: TCNNF) that are thriving in other legal marijuana markets.
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