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Recreational Marijuana is Legal in Ohio. Now What?

As you are already well aware, as of December 7, 2023, recreational marijuana is now legal in Ohio, but of course not with some tweaking from the majority, Republican-led Ohio Senate.

 

Last week, there were many hours of discussions from both the Senate and the House where both bodies weighed in on the proposed revisions. After many hours and debates, adjustments were made to initial proposals and the Senate voted almost unanimously to approve the bill.  Next, the vote will go to the House of Representatives. The main revisions are as follows:

 

  • Ohioans 21-years-old and older would be able to buy recreational marijuana within 90 days of the bill’s effective date, making it possible for current medical dispensaries to sell to adult-use, recreational customers;

  • Keeps the maximum amount of THC at 35% for plant material and reduce it from 90% to 50% for extracts;

  • Sets a six plant limit per household as opposed to 12;

  • Sets a 15% tax on recreational sales as opposed to 10%;

  • Creates a provision (individuals would need to file an application with the Court) allowing Ohioans that have pleaded guilty to possession of under 2.5 ounces of marijuana to have record expunged;

  • Bans advertising that targets children and requires child-safe packaging; and

  • Applies public smoking ban to marijuana.

 

One of the major concerns that Governor DeWine shared as to why he is a strong proponent of these revisions, particularly the one that speeds up the purchase of recreational marijuana is his fear that, now that recreational possession and use is legal, individuals will flock to the illicit market to make purchases when in fact, by law, individuals can only purchase marijuana from an existing medically licensed dispensary, soon to be dual licensed to include recreational. Prior to the current bill, the anticipated date of recreational purchases was closer to nine months out which from the governor’s perspective, gives the illicit market an unfair head start. Really?

 

I would tend to believe that now that more research and commentary are being conducted on the medical benefits of cannabis use, although still categorized as a Schedule 1 drug (drugs with no currently accepted medical use and has a high potential for abuse) and illegal at the federal level, that more individuals may consider obtaining a medical marijuana card upon a recommendation from a doctor. Perhaps we simply continue to share our mission to improve lives through the goodness of cannabis. Medical and recreational cannabis come from the same plant. The difference is the legal categories of which they fall. Let us not be distracted by the politics, but focus on the people, current medical patients and those customers that will soon visit stores to purchase safe marijuana products legally to relieve chronic pain, treat injuries, reduce stress and social anxiety, treat an illness, substitute for alcohol, improve sexual intimacy, enhance sleep quality, to practice mediation, or for goodness’ sake, to get high if they so choose.

 

Let's continue to focus on the people and not the politics. We are in this industry to make a difference and to make an impact.

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