COLUMBUS, Ohio (420CanNews) — With Ohio passing Issue 2 last month legalizing recreational marijuana, the state Senate approved changes to the law despite the measure having 57% voter support. While the new Ohio recreational marijuana law took effect December 7, the Senate GOP introduced changes to the bill at the eleventh hour on Wednesday.
Senate-Approved Changes to Issue 2
|Growing marijuana at home
|Limit of 12 plants per household decreased to 6
|Marijuana sales tax
|Increase of tax rate from 10% to 15%Local governments allowed to add an extra 3% on top
|Previous marijuana possession convictions
|Automatic expungement of record introduced for convictions of 2.5 ounces or less
|Recreational marijuana sales start date
|Original timeline of nine months shortened to 90 days after the bill is signed into law
|2.5 ounces of flower and 15 grams of extract remain the same
|THC level limits
|Flower remains the same at 35%
Extracts reduced from 90% to 50%
|Number of dispensaries
|350 in the state at one time remains the same
Public Health and Equity Concerns Driving Revisions
The reasoning behind the Senate GOP’s revisions involves concerns about increased public use and impaired driving with legalization, though data from other states disputes these notions. Senate Republicans also seek to fund more drug-recognition experts for enforcement and voiced opposition to the social equity provisions written into Ohio Issue 2, like licensing priority for those with past convictions—a disproportionate amount of whom are people of color.
Advocates Gear Up for Fight Over Home Grow, Social Justice
Legalization supporters including advocates, lawmakers, and industry groups argue these changes erode the law’s foundations and defy the will of over 2 million voters. They call for input from communities impacted by prohibition. National groups like the ACLU and NORML vow to defend so-called “home grow” rights and social equity concerns, which could face legal challenges.
Sweeping Divergences From Voter-Approved Measure
Further details of the Republican’s House Bill 86 represent major departures from the original voter-approved measure:
- Restricts marijuana use to strictly occur within the confines of private residences.
- Allows local bans on marijuana businesses through zoning rules, overriding the statewide regulated sales framework.
- Reduced THC potency limitations on extracts is below the limits in neighboring states, with analysts saying it could hamper supply quality, safety standardization, and industry viability while bolstering illicit market competition.
- Imposes testing standards that hamper Ohio’s hemp industry and CBD access by prohibiting sales of full-spectrum products containing even trace THC levels.
Further Changes Loom Amid House-Senate Divisions
Ultimately, observers expect further compromise to occur given the divide in Ohio’s legislature between the Senate seeking these changes and the House listening to input from businesses, health groups, and advocates less amenable to sweeping revisions. Regardless, recreational use and possession is now legal in Ohio after millions of Buckeye State voters approved it barely a month ago, but when and where it can be purchased remains undecided.
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— Story Filed By 420CanNews Staff
Here’s More Information on the Topic:
Ohio Senate Votes to Approve Changes to Issue 2
Ohio’s Legalization of Recreational Marijuana Goes Into Effect, GOP Proposes Sweeping Changes
New Ohio House Bill Seeks to Modify Marijuana Law Before It Takes Effect Next Week
State Representative Aims to Modify Recreational Marijuana Once It Legalizes Next Week
Ohio GOP Senate President Outlines Plan To Amend Voter-Approved Marijuana Law Next Week, Days Before Legalization Takes Effect
Ohio Governor, Legislature Look to Change Recreational Marijuana Law Before It Goes Into Effect
Lawmakers Still Plan Changes Before Issue 2’s Recreational Marijuana Law Takes Effect Next Week
Ohio Republicans Propose Nixing Home Grow, Increasing Taxes in Sweeping Changes to Legal Marijuana
GOP Lawmakers in House, Senate Divided on Allowing Ohioans to Grow Marijuana at Home
Ohio Senate Committee Advances Bill To Eliminate Marijuana Home Grow, Reduce Possession Limits And Raise Taxes—Days Before Legalization Takes Effect