BUCKEYE LAKE, Ohio — AUGUST 17: Marijuana plants hang to dry, August 17, 2023, at PharmaCann, Inc.’s cultivation and processing facility in Buckeye Lake, Ohio. (Photo by Graham Stokes for Ohio Capital Journal. Republish photo only with original story.)
Since Ohio Issue 2, the law to legalize recreational marijuana, passed on election night, WEWS/OCJ viewers and readers have been writing in to ask what this means. Statehouse reporter Morgan Trau breaks it down with the help of some legal experts.
About 57% of voters approve of recreational marijuana, leading to many questions from both supporters and opponents. We brought them to Case Western Reserve University law professors Atiba Ellis and Jonathan Entin.
When can I smoke and grow?
“For personal consumption, growth, all of those things — at a minimum, we have to wait a month until those practices are legal,” Ellis said.
The new law takes effect on Dec. 7, so that’s when adults 21 and older can smoke, possess up to 2.5 ounces and grow up to 6 plants.
How do I buy it?
“The cannabis division that Issue 2 authorizes has to be established, and then it has to write its own rules about cultivation and dispensing,” Entin said. “Issue 2 itself gives that agency nine months to get that work done.”
This means Ohioans are a good way away from being able to buy in a licensed dispensary for personal use.
Where can I smoke?
“Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean you can do it everywhere,” Entin chuckled.
The Ohio Department of Commerce reported that weed smoking would follow similar rules as cigarettes — not in public indoor places. It isn’t completely clear, though and Gov. Mike DeWine has asked for more clarifications on public use.
“People have a right to smoke marijuana, that’s fine,” DeWine said. “But other people have a right not to smell it and not to have their kids or their grandkids exposed to it.”
Can I be evicted for smoking?
“Private property have broad control over what happens on their property,” Entin said. “Your landlord can say you don’t smoke marijuana in the apartment.”
Landlords can put a prohibition on smoking and growing in their leases.
Can I be drug tested at work?
“Employers can say we don’t want you high at work,” Entin said. “The employer can say, ‘I don’t want people high at work because people who are high, like people who are drunk, will not do their jobs.”
The statute says that employers can still drug test and have no tolerance policies.
What happens with taxes?
“The law is in the control of the legislature,” Ellis said.
Currently, the law gives the 10% tax revenue from each marijuana sale to four different funds: “36 percent to the cannabis social equity and jobs fund; 36 percent to the host community cannabis facilities fund; 25 percent to the substance abuse and addiction fund; and three percent to the division of cannabis control and tax commission fund,” according to the text of the law.
Many Statehouse Republicans have floated the idea of changing how much goes to the social equity fund, maybe giving more to local governments.
Why are the lawmakers allowed to change it?
The proposal was an initiated statute, which means it goes into the Ohio Revised Code. This is unlike Issue 1, the abortion amendment, which was put into the Ohio Constitution. An initiated statute, or a law, has an easier process of making it to the ballot than a constitutional amendment. However, initiated statutes can be easily changed, while amendments cannot.
“I’ve asked the legislature in the next, within the next 30 days, to take appropriate action,” DeWine said.
As the governor said — the rules are still being written, so keep the questions coming, and we’ll stay on top of it.
This article was originally published on News5Cleveland.com and is published in the Ohio Capital Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.
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