Two Ohio House Reps are filing a bill that would legalize adult-use cannabis, marking the first time a proposal allowing recreational cannabis commerce has been introduced in the Ohio legislature.
Co-sponsors of the bill, Reps. Terrence Upchurch and Casey Weinstein, began circulating the draft memo to their colleagues on Thursday in order to garner support prior to formally filing the bill.
“Ohio can and should be the leader and pave the way for a successful recreational marijuana program,” Upchurch, who represents Northeast Ohio including Cleveland, told Benzinga. “We really need to get the rollout right.”
While the full details have not been released, Upchurch said components of the bill would allow adults 21 to buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 plants.
Ohioans with nonviolent cannabis-related records crimes can have their records sealed and participate in the newly legal industry.
“The number of people who have been negatively affected by cannabis arrests in Ohio is astronomical. I’ve seen firsthand how the lives of good people have been upended for years because of pot convictions,” Upchurch said.
Casey Weinstein, a U.S. Air Force veteran who represents Ohio's Dayton area, said the time has come for Ohio.
“Quite simply we have reached critical mass," Weinstein told Benzinga. "Between Ohio’s successful medical marijuana program, other states moving forward, and broad, bipartisan support for the many benefits to reform, it’s time to legalize."
What Say You, Governor DeWine?
Many presume Republican Gov. Mike DeWine will oppose the bill as would the GOP-dominated Legislature, though both Upchurch and Weinstein say there are legislators on both sides of the aisle who support legalization.
Critical Mass? It Looks That Way
First of all, the majority of Ohio voters have almost consistently supported reform through numerous local initiatives. At the moment, nearly two dozen Ohio jurisdictions have adopted statutes drastically reducing the penalty for possession of small amounts of weed, according to the Ohio Sensible Movement Coalition.
In Cincinnati, where cannabis was decriminalized in 2019, Mayor John Cranley tweeted Thursday afternoon: "It's time we legalize marijuana in Ohio."
Dayton’s Mayor Nan Whaley, a Democrat who is running for Ohio governor, echoed that sentiment in a statement Thursday.
"This is a commonsense change that is both an important criminal justice reform issue, as well as a sensible way for Ohio to bring in more revenue for basic services that communities across our state need."
Medical Cannabis Patients Increasing - Cannabis Companies Prepare For More
Ohio has close to 100,000 medical marijuana patients, prompting the state to more than double the number of cannabis dispensaries for the coming year.
Cannabis companies now operating in Ohio, include Jushi Holdings Inc JUSHF, Ayr Wellness Inc AYRWF, Green Thumb Industries Inc. GTBIF and Body and Mind Inc. BMMJ, among others. More are expected to make their way to the Buckeye State.
Photo courtesy of Rep. Upchurch
© 2022 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
Ad Disclosure: The rate information is obtained by Bankrate from the listed institutions. Bankrate cannot guaranty the accuracy or availability of any rates shown above. Institutions may have different rates on their own websites than those posted on Bankrate.com. The listings that appear on this page are from companies from which this website receives compensation, which may impact how, where, and in what order products appear. This table does not include all companies or all available products.
All rates are subject to change without notice and may vary depending on location. These quotes are from banks, thrifts, and credit unions, some of whom have paid for a link to their own Web site where you can find additional information. Those with a paid link are our Advertisers. Those without a paid link are listings we obtain to improve the consumer shopping experience and are not Advertisers. To receive the Bankrate.com rate from an Advertiser, please identify yourself as a Bankrate customer. Bank and thrift deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Credit union deposits are insured by the National Credit Union Administration.
Consumer Satisfaction: Bankrate attempts to verify the accuracy and availability of its Advertisers' terms through its quality assurance process and requires Advertisers to agree to our Terms and Conditions and to adhere to our Quality Control Program. If you believe that you have received an inaccurate quote or are otherwise not satisfied with the services provided to you by the institution you choose, please click here.
Rate collection and criteria: Click here for more information on rate collection and criteria.