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Ohio Senate Committee Approves Plan for Immediate Access to Recreational Marijuana

December 6, 2023
Rob McColley News

COLUMBUS - State Senator Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) announced the passage of a bipartisan plan preserving access to recreational marijuana sales that voters approved under Issue 2 in November, while also protecting the ability of Ohioans to grow marijuana for personal use and streamlining the permitting process for dispensaries.

"It is important that Ohioans have immediate access to tested and certified recreational marijuana they can have confidence in buying," said Senator McColley. "Additionally, this bipartisan plan will help dissolve the underground criminal market with legal sales beginning immediately," said Senator McColley. "Without these changes, Issue 2 would delay the program for nine months."

Key provisions passed by the General Government Committee include the following changes to HB 86, which amends the initiated statute approved by the voters in November:
Immediate implementation and access to recreational marijuana sales
Provide process for immediate expungement of marijuana possession convictions upon request
Provide a funding stream covering legal fees and court costs related to expungement
Protects voter approved possession limits and THC limit for plant based material
Allows for home grow with 6 plants per household
The plan as amended would also end the unfair anti-competitive advantage the industry wrote for itself in Issue 2, by opening the process to apply for retail licenses to anyone who qualifies, not just cultivators already in business.

"The backers of this amendment deliberately avoided a constitutional amendment because the constitution would prohibit the sweetheart deal they granted themselves," said Senator McColley. "We corrected that to allow all Ohioans the chance of owning a dispensary. This is big business, and big business wrote the language to help it control the process from the soil to the sale."

The Senate is expected to approve the plan during its full Senate session later today.