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Sykes Reflects on the Passage of House Bill 86

December 6, 2023
Vernon Sykes News

Today, state Senator Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) reflected on the Ohio Senate’s vote to approve House Bill 86, which makes changes to Ohio’s adult-use marijuana law.

"In spite of the initial bills proposed by the House and Senate majorities which reduced the provisions in Issue 2 adopted by the people of Ohio, the Senate Democratic minority held the line and successfully negotiated a compromise bill that would salvage the voice of the people," Sykes said.

Through the dedicated work of Ohio Senate Democrats, the substitute version of House Bill 86 that passed the Senate this evening provides protections for several key provisions that voters approved in Issue 2. These include:

  • Protecting home grow of marijuana plants;
  • Low tax rates on marijuana and marijuana products;
  • Restoring legal possession amounts to the levels in Issue 2;
  • Restoring the total number of dispensaries allowed in Ohio to the levels in Issue 2. 

The final Senate version of House Bill 86 also strengthens Ohio’s adult-use marijuana laws in several important ways due to Senate Democratic negotiations. These provisions include:

  • Automatic expungement of marijuana possession convictions;
  • Providing funding for courts and legal aid to ensure that legal fees are not a barrier to expungement;
  • Allowing licensed medical dispensaries to sell marijuana and marijuana products to adults over 21 years of age 90 days after enactment, instead of waiting 9 months for adult-use dispensaries to be given licenses;
  • Expanding eligibility for dispensary licenses, which increases opportunities for more Ohio entrepreneurs;
  • Providing funding for the 988 suicide prevention hotline and supporting Ohio’s poison control centers. 

Regardless of this bill, the provisions approved by voters in Issue 2 go into effect on Thursday, December 7, 2023. House Bill 86 now moves to the Ohio House for consideration.