Lawmakers in Ohio are gearing up to file a bill that will legalize and regulate marijuana in the state as activists push for more local reform. It also outlines a structure for recreational cannabis commerce. The landmark bill will be the first of its kind to be introduced into the legislation. Sponsoring the legislation is Rep. Casey Weinstein alongside Rep. Terrence Upchurch. The lawmakers released a co-sponsorship memo to colleagues on Thursday, July 15th, to encourage support for the effort prior to its formal introduction.
Weinstein told Marijuana Moment that, “Ohioans and Americans are way out ahead on this issue, and the comfort level with first decriminalization and medical marijuana and then full legalization is just so far beyond where legislators are.” He concluded, saying, “This is an effort to close that gap and catch up.” The bill would legalize possession of up to five ounces of marijuana for adults 21 and older while also allowing them to cultivate a max of 12 plants for personal use.
It also includes provisions to expunge prior convictions for possession and cultivation activities that are being made legal under the measure. There will also be a 10 percent surcharge that will be imposed on marijuana sales, with revenue going primarily toward the cost of implementation and then being divided among municipalities with at least one dispensary (15%), counties with at least one shop (15%), K-12 education (35%) and infrastructure (35%). Rep. Casey Winestein says he expects to formally file the legislation in the next couple of days once certain outstanding details are finalized. Seeing more and more states get on board with marijuana reform shows just how close we are as a nation to getting full legalization.