Ohio plants idea to legalize marijuana


Tribune News Services

WRITE ANOTHER BILL. Ohio tried to pass legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use in 2015 but the bill was shot down. The bill would have allowed for those over 21 to grow limited amounts of marijuana.

The legalization of marijuana has become another hot button issue making its way to the ballot in Ohio next year.

On May 10 Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine certified a petition whose purpose was to get recreational marijuana back on the statewide ballot.

“The petition now goes to the bipartisan Ohio Ballot Board, which must decide whether the measure contains one or multiple ballot issues,” according to Cincinnati.com.

The return to the ballot is expected to come in 2019 and calls for those 21 and over to be able to sell, buy, transport, use, etc. recreational marijuana.

Medical marijuana has been legalized in Ohio but only to 12 Level I businesses and 12 Level II growers. The application fee was $20,000 and $2,000 respectively with annual fees of $200,000 for Level I growers and $20,000 for Level II growers.

Purchasers must have one of the under 30 medical conditions listed in order to buy medical marijuana.

However, a court case may be pushing back the selling of medical marijuana. Releaf, a business that applied and did not receive a provisional license, is the plaintiff who seeks an injunction in order to stop the distribution of certificate of operations to the businesses (those who have the provisional licenses).

Releaf argues that the distribution of operation certificates will limit the distribution of provisional licenses, therefore making it more difficult to catch up and begin operations.

“But the lawsuit would prevent Level I growers — large growers with operations up to 25,000 square feet — from even having marijuana on site until the state hears appeals from unsuccessful applicants contesting how the provisional licenses were awarded,” according to Cincinnati.com.

This case may delay the medical marijuana program, delaying medicine to patients.

“I’ll be very surprised if the state of Ohio has medical marijuana by the end of the year,” said Randall Smith, Ohio Releaf CEO and owner of the country’s largest medical marijuana farm and dispensary, according to Cleveland.com.