Ohio’s Full Senate to Vote Wednesday on Bill to Gut Marijuana Legalization Law

Ohio’s full Senate is set to vote tomorrow on a bill that would make drastic changes to the state’s voter-approved marijuana legalization law that’s set to take effect Thursday.

Yesterday Ohio’s Senate General Government Committee voted 4 to 1 to give approval to provisions that would make numerous changes to Issue 2, the marijuana legalization initiative approved by voters last month. Now, the full Senate is set to vote on the measure tomorrow, December 6. Passage in the Senate would send the provisions to the House of Representatives.

Some of the proposed changes to Issue 2 include:

  • Completely eliminate the option to grow marijuana at home (Issue 2 allows those 21 and older to grow up to six plants).
  • Reduce the possession limit for dried marijuana from two and a half ounces to one ounce.
  • Reduce the THC cap on marijuana flower from 35% to 25% and the cap on concentrates from 90% to 50%.
  • Establish criminal penalties for consuming marijuana in public.
  • Allow cities to ban marijuana businesses.

“Almost two years after first receiving Issue 2’s language and after Ohio voters overwhelmingly passed it, some in the Ohio Senate propose to gut Issue 2’s most important provisions, including home grow and social equity, and to put in place higher taxes that will entrench the illicit market and force Ohioans to continue to buy their cannabis products in Michigan”, says Tom Haren, a spokesperson for Issue 2. “This is not what voters wanted. What’s more, they will apparently attempt to declare an ‘emergency’ and to pass this bill (crafted behind closed doors) in a rushed process designed to prevent meaningful input—all to subvert the will of Ohio voters.”

Haren continues by saying “But let’s be clear: the democratic process is not an emergency. Members of the Ohio Senate should shelve this proposal and instead implement the results of a free and fair election in accordance with their duties as public servants. Voters deserve to have the core components of Issue 2 respected by their elected officials with any changes being made only after robust opportunity for debate and participation by the general public.”

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