The Ohio Senate has passed a bill altering the recently enacted adult-use cannabis law, as reported by WTAP. The legislation, approved on the very day the voter-approved law came into effect, proposes a substantial increase in the excise tax on cannabis products, raising it from 10% to 15%. Additionally, the bill proposes a significant shift in how these tax dollars are allocated.
Under the new proposal, over half of the adult-use tax revenues would be directed towards law enforcement and the construction of jails, with the remaining portion designated for drug treatment and associated programs. This marks a departure from the initial voter-approved measure, which established five distinct funds in the state treasury, encompassing social equity, jobs, host communities, substance abuse, and cannabis control.
The Senate’s bill, however, eliminates the social equity and jobs program altogether, redirecting the funds towards law enforcement initiatives and the state’s general fund, according to Politico. Tom Haren, a spokesperson for the legalization campaign, expressed dissatisfaction, stating that the bill “does not respect the will of the voters.”
Notably, the proposed changes include allowing current medical cannabis companies to immediately sell to non-patients aged 21 and older. The bill also introduces limitations on home cultivation, capping it at six plants per household, and imposes restrictions on the allowable THC limits for cannabis products.
Despite the controversy surrounding the bill, it still requires approval from the House and has garnered support from Republican Governor Mike DeWine.