Recreational Marijuana in Ohio: Legal to Possess but Not to Purchase

by Joshua Brown
Ohio Marijuana Legalization

Recreational Marijuana in Ohio: Legal to Possess but Not to Purchase

In Ohio, a unique situation has arisen following the legalization of recreational marijuana. Since Thursday, Ohio residents have been in a peculiar position where they are legally allowed to grow and possess marijuana at home, but are unable to purchase it legally.

Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, expressed concerns on Wednesday, warning that this legal gap could lead to a rise in black market sales, potentially endangering residents with harmful substances mixed in marijuana products. This situation arises from the recent approval of a citizen-initiated statute in November. Despite a last-minute compromise bill in the Ohio Senate, the Ohio House did not pass it, opting to adjourn instead.

Rep. Jamie Callender, who is sponsoring a House bill on this matter, emphasized the need for careful consideration and respect for voters’ wishes, arguing against any urgency in implementing a legal sales framework. However, the House’s adjournment without action on the compromise bill has raised questions. Rep. Bill Seitz defended this decision, emphasizing the need for more time to properly establish the regulatory structure for marijuana sales.

The initial statute, Issue 2, allowed adults over 21 to buy up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and grow a limited number of plants at home. It also called for a system for legal purchases within nine months, including a 10% tax. However, a Senate rewrite proposed significant changes, including outlawing home growth, reducing possession limits, and redirecting tax revenues.

The Senate’s compromise, which included DeWine’s input, retained the 2.5-ounce possession limit and reinstated some voter-approved provisions, like THC levels for plants. It also introduced new elements, like expunging criminal records for certain marijuana convictions and child safety measures in marijuana products.

Steven Steinglass, a legal expert, noted the rarity of such significant amendments to a voter-initiated statute in Ohio. He highlighted that if legislators deviate too much from the voter-approved statute, advocacy groups could pursue a referendum.

Despite reservations about legalization, Senate President Matt Huffman stated that the compromise respects voters’ choices while addressing safety concerns. Louis Tobin from the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association noted that enforcement of the new law would begin immediately, with a focus on compliance with possession limits and preventing illegal activities like driving under the influence.

This report is part of the Big Big News/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative, with journalist Samantha Hendrickson serving as a corps member. Report for America is a national service program that assigns journalists to local newsrooms to cover underreported topics.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ohio Marijuana Legalization

Is recreational marijuana legal to possess and grow in Ohio?

Yes, as of the recent change in law, adults in Ohio can legally grow and possess marijuana at home. However, they cannot legally purchase it in the state.

What concerns did Ohio Governor Mike DeWine express about the new marijuana law?

Governor Mike DeWine expressed concerns that the gap between legal possession and the inability to purchase legally could lead to a rise in black market sales, potentially endangering residents with harmful substances in marijuana products.

What was the purpose of the compromise bill related to Ohio’s marijuana law?

The compromise bill in the Ohio Senate aimed to set parameters for implementing Issue 2, the voter-approved initiative. It sought to establish a regulatory framework for legal marijuana sales, including taxation and safety measures.

Why did the Ohio House not pass the compromise marijuana bill?

The Ohio House did not pass the compromise bill because members felt there was no urgency and more time was needed to thoroughly review and address the complexities of setting up a legal cannabis sales and regulatory structure.

What are the key provisions of Ohio’s initial marijuana statute, Issue 2?

Issue 2 allows adults 21 and over to buy and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and grow a limited number of plants at home. It also includes a 10% tax on marijuana sales, with revenues allocated to various programs, including addiction treatment and social equity.

How does the Senate’s compromise bill differ from the original Issue 2?

The Senate’s compromise bill reduces the number of plants allowed per household, retains a higher tax rate on purchases, and lowers THC levels for cannabis extracts. It also adds provisions for expunging certain marijuana convictions and child safety measures.

What are the enforcement priorities for Ohio’s new marijuana law?

The enforcement priorities include ensuring compliance with possession limits, preventing illegal sales and activities like driving under the influence, and focusing on public safety and health concerns.

More about Ohio Marijuana Legalization

  • Ohio Marijuana Legalization Overview
  • Governor DeWine’s Concerns on Marijuana Law
  • Issue 2: Ohio’s Marijuana Statute Details
  • Ohio House Marijuana Legislation Debate
  • Senate Compromise on Ohio Marijuana Bill
  • Enforcement of Ohio’s Marijuana Laws

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SarahBee December 8, 2023 - 1:01 am

I don’t get it, why would the house not pass the bill? just makes no sense, they need to get their act together!

Dave_in_OH December 8, 2023 - 1:50 am

as an Ohioan, this is just frustrating, we voted for this and now there’s all this back and forth. What’s the point of voting if they’re just gonna change everything?

LegalEagle45 December 8, 2023 - 4:25 am

There’s a lot of legal nuances here, not sure everyone gets it, these things take time to iron out, but I get why people are upset. The devil’s in the details.

MikeJ87 December 8, 2023 - 8:36 pm

wow this is crazy, Ohio’s got some weird laws now huh? can grow but can’t buy? that’s just asking for trouble…


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