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New bill by Republican lawmaker would change Ohio’s marijuana law

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The race is on to alter Ohio’s marijuana law before it goes into effect Thursday.

Rep. Gary Click, R-Vickery, recently introduced House Bill 341 — which would change how the revenue funds would be allocated and allow municipalities to ban marijuana dispensaries and home grow.

Ohioans passed Issue 2 with 57% of the vote, which legalizes and regulates the cultivation, manufacturing, testing and the sale of marijuana to Ohioans 21 and up. It also legalizes home grow for Ohioans 21 and up with a limit of six plants per person and 12 plants per residence, and imposes a 10% tax at the point of sale for each transaction.

What’s in the bill?

The bill wipes out an entire section of the law that prohibits municipalities from banning home grow, marijuana use and levying special taxes or fees on marijuana businesses.

Issue 2 creates five funds in the state treasury: the adult use tax fund, the cannabis social equity and jobs fund, the host community cannabis fund, the substance abuse and addiction fund, and the division of cannabis control and tax commissioner fund.

HB 341 would split the substance abuse funds in two — the substance abuse research and education fund, and the substance abuse addiction and recovery fund. It would also add the law enforcement cannabis training fund.

Because of the revenue alterations, the bill changes how the funds would be allocated.

Instead of 36% going to both the cannabis social equity and jobs fund, and the host community cannabis fund, the bill proposes cutting each down to 19.4%.

Issue 2 allocates 25% to the substance abuse and addiction fund, but HB 341 proposes 19.4% go toward the substance abuse research and addiction education fund.

Click’s bill allocates 19.4% to both the substance abuse addiction and recovery fund, and to the law enforcement cannabis training fund.

“We are not going to respond to every single bill that gets proposed, but we are monitoring and watching what’s going on in the General Assembly,” said Tom Haren, a spokesman for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the group behind Issue 2.

What other Ohio Republicans are saying

Ever since Issue 2 passed, Republicans haven’t been shy about wanting to make changes to the proposed marijuana law.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he continues to have discussions about Issue 2 with Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, and House Speaker Jason Stephens, R-Kitts Hill.

“I think we’re going to see some action shortly,” DeWine told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

DeWine previously said he has three main priorities he wants to address: guardrails for children, tax policy and safety on the roads. The governor also previously said he wants lawmakers to come to an agreement before the law goes into effect on Thursday.

When asked about Click’s bill, Stephens said he hasn’t looked at all of the details.

“There’s a lot of different ideas,” he told reporters Wednesday. “As I’ve mentioned before, it’s an important issue. We want to make sure we have that fully vetted.”

He wasn’t sure if a marijuana reform bill would make it to the House floor next week.

“I think we’re coalescing around some ideas that can, you know, gain the support of the majority of the House,” Stephens said. “What those in detail are, will hopefully come about sooner rather than later.”


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