by J.D. Davidson
A group pushing for legalizing marijuana in Ohio began the formal process to send proposed legislation to the General Assembly.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted the language of its plan to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. The submission of the first 1,000 signatures, according to group spokesman and attorney Tom Haren, will require Yost to review and approve the petition language within 10 days.
From there, the group needs 130,000 valid signatures to put potential legislation before lawmakers, who would have four months to decide. If legislators say no, the group could collect another 130,000 signatures to put the issue on a statewide ballot.
“We are proposing to regulate marijuana for adult use, just like we do for alcohol. Our proposal fixes a broken system while ensuring local control, keeping marijuana out of the hands of children and benefitting everyone,” Haren said.
The group’s proposed law legalizes and regulates the cultivation, manufacturing, testing and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for those 21 years and older. It would also legalize homegrown marijuana for adults 21 and older with a limit of six plants per person or 12 per household. The proposal also would allow anyone 21 and older to buy or possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana.
The proposed law also includes a 10% cannabis tax rate on adult-use sales that would be split between state programs to benefit social equity and job programs, funding for communities that have adult-use dispensaries, funding for education and treatment for addiction issues and the Division of Cannabis Control for regulation and administrative costs.
“Marijuana legalization is an issue whose time has come in Ohio. Nineteen states have gone before Ohio and we crafted legislation based on the best practices learned by those that went before us,” Haren said. “Ohioans want this. They see marijuana legalization as inevitable. They want our leaders to seize the opportunity and take control of our future.”
Ohio legalized medical marijuana in 2016 and the first dispensaries opened in 2019.
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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. He is regional editor for The Center Square.