Banning cannabis growing at home, increasing the substance’s tax rate, and altering how those taxes get distributed are among the vast changes Ohio Senate Republicans proposed to a cannabis legalization measure approved by voters last month.
The changes emerged suddenly in committee just days before the new law is set to take effect, though their fate in the full Senate and the GOP-led House is still unclear.
The ballot measure, dubbed Issue 2, passed on the Nov. 7 election with 57 percent of the vote, and it is set to become law, making Ohio the 24th state to legalize cannabis for adult recreational use. But as a citizen-initiated statute, the Legislature is free to make tweaks to it, of which they’re attempting plenty.
“The goal of this committee is to provide the people’s wishes with a safe product,” Sen. Michael Rulli, a Columbiana County Republican, said during a meeting of the Senate General Government Committee, where the changes were tacked onto an unrelated alcohol regulation bill. Tom Haren, a spokesperson for the pro-Issue 2 campaign Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, harshly criticized the Senate rewrite.
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