Ohio Governor Renews Call for Legislation Banning Public Marijuana Consumption

Ohio Governor Renews Call for Legislation Banning Public Marijuana Consumption

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is once again pushing for legislative action to address concerns related to marijuana consumption and the sale of intoxicating hemp-derived cannabinoids like delta-8 THC.

During his State of the State address, Governor DeWine emphasized the need to respect the will of Ohio voters who approved marijuana legalization at the ballot last November. However, he expressed reservations about aspects of the current law, particularly regarding public consumption.

DeWine highlighted the potential negative impacts of public marijuana consumption, stating that Ohioans did not vote to subject their communities to the smell of cannabis in public spaces such as parks or sidewalks. He called on lawmakers to address this issue, stressing the importance of protecting families and children from exposure to marijuana smoke.

Additionally, the governor raised concerns about the sale of intoxicating cannabinoids, such as delta-8 THC, which are often sold in gas stations and convenience stores. He described these products as “widely unregulated” and easily accessible to children, disguised as candies, gummies, and even breakfast cereals.

According to DeWine, intoxicating cannabinoids like delta-8 THC can have adverse effects, including hallucinations, vomiting, tremors, anxiety, dizziness, confusion, and loss of consciousness. He urged the General Assembly to pass legislation banning the sale of these products to protect Ohio’s youth from potential harm.

While DeWine emphasized the importance of respecting the will of voters who approved marijuana legalization, he also stressed the need for certain changes to the law. However, efforts to advance legislation addressing these concerns have faced challenges within the GOP-controlled legislature.

House Speaker Jason Stephens acknowledged that there is currently a lack of consensus within the legislature regarding substantive changes to the marijuana law. Despite discussions about potential amendments, no concrete proposals have gained sufficient support to move forward.

Meanwhile, regulatory efforts to implement marijuana legalization are underway, with regulators aiming to start issuing cannabis business licenses by September. However, a GOP lawmaker indicated that sales could potentially launch as soon as June under a regulatory plan awaiting approval from a rulemaking committee.

Governor DeWine’s renewed call for legislative action reflects ongoing debates surrounding marijuana policy in Ohio, highlighting the complexities of balancing public health and safety concerns with the will of voters and regulatory considerations.

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