Ohio Senate Votes 28 to 2 to Allow Dispensaries to Immediately Begin Selling Recreational Marijuana

Just two days after an Ohio Senate committee voted to essentially gut a voter-approved marijuana legalization law, the full Senate has voted to approve legislation that would instead keep most of the legalization initiative intact while allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to begin selling recreational marijuana.

The Senate voted 28 to 2 to pass the legislation that would allow those 21 and older to begin purchasing marijuana from medical marijuana dispensaries even if they are not medical marijuana patients. The proposal would also retain the ability for adults to cultivate up to six marijuana plants for personal use, although it would reduce the household cap from 12 plants to six plants.

The proposed law would also allow for the automatic expungement of past marijuana convictions, something that was not included as a provision in Issue 2, and it would increase the marijuana tax rate from 10% to 15% while allowing localities to institute a city tax of up to 3%.

Committee Chairman Michael Rulli (R) said that “a lot of the public has reached out to probably every single one of our senators with thousands of emails and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of calls. I think the people have spoken”.

It is unclear if the House of Representatives will adopt the same proposal or if they will make changes. If it is passed through the House it will be sent to Governor Mike DeWine for consideration.

The Senate’s passage of the bill comes just one day before Issue 2 is set to take effect, allowing everyone 21 and older to not only grow marijuana but possess up to two and a half ounces of dried flower and up to 15 grams of marijuana concentrates.

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