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Legal Weed Takes Effect in Ohio, Lawmakers Rush To Amend It

Ohio is officially the 24th state with legal, adult-use marijuana. Provisions of a voter-approved legalization law took effect at midnight, including legal possession and home cultivation for anyone at least 21 years old, Politico reports. Adults can now possess up to 2.5 ounces of weed and grow up to six plants. Under the voter-passed law, cannabis is subject to a 10 percent excise tax and revenues are directed towards an equity and jobs program. The legalization law sets up a new cannabis regulatory agency, which will have nine months to go through a rule-making process to launch adult-use sales. However, Ohio lawmakers are rushing to pass legislation to make changes to the initiative. On Wednesday, the Senate passed legislation to alter potency caps, taxation, home cultivation, and social equity and expungement provisions.

The Senate proposal would speed legal sales by allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to start serving recreational customers immediately. It would also halve the number of plants allowed for home growth, increase the excise tax to 15 percent, and allow medical marijuana dispensaries to start serving the adult-use market immediately. It would require expungements upon request and the ending of the social equity and jobs program. Instead, the tax revenues would go towards law enforcement training, substance abuse treatment, and the state’s general fund. “What the Senate passed yesterday still does not respect the will of the voters,” said Tom Haren, a spokesperson for the legalization campaign. Haren says that potency restrictions and higher tax rates under the Senate bill will make it difficult to compete with the illicit market and will still drive Ohioans to buy marijuana in Michigan.


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