GOP Lawmakers Seek To Alter Ohio's Cannabis Home Grow Rules, Advocates Call The Move A 'Blatant Violation'

Zinger Key Points
  • Senate Republicans have introduced new legislation that proposes some reforms to the recreational marijuana law that was approved by voters.
  • Cannabis advocates are calling foul. 'To allow people to vote for something and then try to redact or overregulate what we voted for'

Ohio's Senate Republicans are moving to tighten home cultivation rules for cannabis in a recently introduced senate bill that would also create new regulations for the sale of delta-8 THC, a compound derived from hemp. Advocates say the GOP-dominated senate is attempting to reverse provisions in the recreational marijuana law approved by voters last November.

Since December, adults over 21 have been permitted to consume and grow limited amounts of marijuana in their homes, with recreational sales potentially starting soon as business license applications are finalized.

Republican State Senator Kirk Schuring insists that these efforts are not overturning the will of the voters but rather clarifying the law. “This is not an upheaval of the will of the people. This is just trying to make sure there's clarity to it,” Schuring said to local media outlets.

Those who voted to legalize adult-use cannabis in Ohio beg to differ.

"They are now pushing for home growers to register their grows and track each plant through Metrc so the corporations can continue to control us," John Lutz of OhioCannabis.com told Benzinga in an email. “We need to remind all politicians that they work for the people, not corporations.”

Others are calling the move a “blatant violation.”

“To allow people to vote for something and then try to redact or over-regulate what we voted for is a blatant violation of our fourth amendment,” Cannabis Safety First Founder Tim Johnson told ABC 6 . “People that grow at home still visit dispensaries and respect their business. But if I am a home grower and you want me to register with the state, what that tells me is that you want to track me. You want to walk into my home and see what I am doing? You don’t do that for alcohol, you don’t do that for tobacco, and you don’t do that for firearms, so why cannabis?”

GOP lawmakers also plan to revamp where the tax money goes, with an emphasis on mental health services, drug treatment and funding law enforcement. The adult-use program created a substance abuse and addiction fund that gets 25% of the revenue from the excise tax.

Governor Mike DeWine has pushed lawmakers to define public marijuana use rules and address delta-8 THC, which is unregulated in Ohio and therefore easily found in various retail outlets and gas stations – a situation the governor has been attempting to remedy. In addition to supporting measures to regulate delta-8, DeWine says he wants to ensure public spaces remain free from cannabis smoke.

The House’s stance on these legislative changes remains uncertain, with past reluctance to pass similar proposals. Some lawmakers believe administrative rulemaking could address certain issues raised by DeWine.

Photo: Shutterstock

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