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2 lawmakers introduce bill to legalize marijuana in Ohio

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 10:14 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2021 at 12:03 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WXIX) - Two state lawmakers introduced legislation Friday to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Ohio.

State Reps. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) and Terrence Upchurch (D-Cleveland) say their bill will have four major components: Decriminalization, Marijuana Excise Tax, Commerce and Licensing, and Medical Marijuana.

Medical marijuana is legal in Ohio.

About two months ago, the State Medical Board of Ohio expanded the list of qualifying medical conditions for someone to get a medical marijuana card.

Ohio approves 3 existing conditions for medical marijuana use

This new legislation would allow for adult cultivation and possession of marijuana and allows for the expungement of conviction records for previous cultivation and possession offenses.

The bill would also levy an excise tax of 10% on a marijuana retailer’s or microbusiness’s gross receipts from the sale of marijuana.

Excise tax revenue would be distributed in part to primary and secondary (K-12) education, for the repair and maintenance of roads and bridges, and up to $20 million annually for two years would be used for clinical trials researching the efficacy of marijuana in treating the medical conditions of veterans and preventing veteran suicide.

“It’s time to lead Ohio forward,” Weinstein said. “This is a big step for criminal justice reform, for our veterans, for economic opportunity, and for our individual liberties.”

Upchurch said this bill “is much needed in Ohio, and it’s time for Ohio to become a national leader in marijuana decriminalization and legalization. This bill is more than just about legalization, it’s about economic and workforce development, it’s about decriminalization, and it’s about healthcare! The time is now, and I look forward to getting this done in a bipartisan fashion.”

The bill now awaits a bill number and committee assignment.

FOX19 NOW checked in with some local lawmakers to see how they feel about the proposed legislation.

“I have not read the bill, but I am doubtful it could pass,” said Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Green Township). “My own bipartisan bill to allow medical marijuana for autism spectrum treatment still hasn’t even made it out of Committee and this newly proposed bill is a giant leap beyond that one.”

State Rep. Sara Carruthers (R-Hamilton) said she is “wholeheartedly against it.”

“I understand the idea behind it, but I have seen what it has done to states and to people. It may not lead everyone to worse drugs, but you will be hard pressed to find someone who is a heroin addict that didn’t start with it. I have never been for it, never tried it and actually I am allergic to it!”

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