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Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021
Mugglehead Magazine
Cannabis & psychedelics industry news based in Vancouver, B.C.
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Legalization

Ohio lawmakers seek support for cannabis legalization bill

Reps. Casey Weinstein and Terrence Upchurch’s bill is expected to be formally introduced soon

Ohio lawmakers seek support for cannabis legalization bill
Reps. Casey Weinstein (L) and Terrence Upchurch (R) have drafted a legalization bill in Ohio. Images via Ohio General Assembly

There are rumblings of cannabis legalization in Ohio as two Democratic lawmakers look to introduce a bill for adult-use, cultivation and regulated sales.

Reps. Casey Weinstein and Terrence Upchurch have drafted a bill, and are seeking support ahead of its formal introduction in the coming days.

“Excited to work with my friend and colleague [Terrence Upchurch] as we lead Ohio forward on this next big step for criminal justice reform, for our veterans, for economic opportunity and for our individual liberties,” Weinstein writes in a tweet.

In 2016, the state legalized medical cannabis, but this would be the first bill proposing regulated sales of cannabis in the state.

Adults over 21 would be able to have five ounces of cannabis and cultivate up to 12 plants, according to reports.

The bill has not been formally introduced, though an overview of the bill has been provided to Mugglehead. There are four main components: decriminalization, excise tax, commerce and licensing as well as medical marijuana.

The Department of Commerce would oversee regulations and sales, and a 10 per cent tax on retail cannabis sales is included.

Municipalities would have the power to limit the number of cannabis stores in their jurisdiction.

Aside from regulating and taxing a legal cannabis market, Weinstein and Upchurch’s legalization bill would distribute up to $20 million annually for two years for clinical trials researching cannabis in treating medical conditions of veterans and preventing veteran suicide.

Read more: US Senators present draft bill to federally decriminalize cannabis

Read more: US Supreme Court judge calls federal cannabis prohibition ‘contradictory’

The remaining tax revenues would be dispersed as follows:

  • 15 per cent to municipalities with at least one cannabis store, allocated based on the number of stores in each municipality;
  • 15 per cent to counties with at least one cannabis store, allocated based on the number of stores in each county;
  • 35 per cent for primary and secondary (K-12) education;
  • 35 per cent for the repair and maintenance of roads and bridges;

Similar to other state legalization bills, Ohio’s would erase criminal records for cultivation and possession offences.

Restrictions on processing, transportation and sales will be included but were not detailed in the outline.

The bill would retain the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program.

Recreational cannabis is legal in neighbouring states Illinois and Michigan. It’s the same in nearby New York and Virginia as of this year.

Read more: 3 US state weed laws kick in as advocates predict more bills to follow

However, it’s expected that Gov. Mike DeWine will oppose the legislation as he has been against legalizing recreational weed in the past.

Earlier this year, a bill to allow cannabis cultivation and to erase some weed-related offences was introduced in Ohio but hasn’t had a hearing.

 

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