Two Democratic lawmakers in Ohio have introduced a bill to legalize cannabis for adult use in the state, WXIX reports. The move comes as cannabis legalization’s own advocates launched their campaign to force the Legislature to take up the reforms or put the issue to voters if lawmakers decline to consider the initiative if it is approved by voters.
The bill backed by state Reps. Casey Weinstein and Terrence Upchurch would allow for possession, use, and cultivation of cannabis by adults 21-and-older, with a 10% excise tax on sales. Revenues derived from cannabis sales would be used for K-12 education, infrastructure, and up to $20 million per year for two years would be earmarked for clinical trials studying the efficacy of cannabis for medical conditions of veterans and preventing veteran suicide, the report says.
The bill, Upchurch said, “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.”— Upchurch via WXIX
Weinstein described the measure as “a big step for criminal justice reform, for our veterans, for economic opportunity, and for our individual liberties.”
Republican lawmakers interviewed by WXIX were opposed to the measure and skeptical it would get a vote in either chamber of the Legislature.
State Rep. Sara Carruthers said she is “wholeheartedly against it” and “never been for [cannabis], never tried it” and is “allergic to it.”
“I understand the idea behind it, but I have seen what it has done to states and to people,” she said in the report. “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.”
Rep. Bill Seitz said he had not read the bill but was “doubtful it could pass” noting that his legislation to add autism spectrum disorder to the state’s medical cannabis program hasn’t made it out of committee.
The cannabis legalization bill still must be assigned to a committee.
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