Bipartisan marijuana bill proposed in Ohio assembly

Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 6:50 PM EDT|Updated: 10 hours ago
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - For the second consecutive year, a marijuana legalization bill has been proposed in the Ohio State Assembly. This year, the bill was introduced by Representatives Casey Weinstein (D- Hudson), and Jamie Callender (R- Concord), showing bipartisan support as they hope for full legalization.

House Bill 168, or the Ohio Adult Use Act, would legalize the possession, purchase and cultivation of marijuana for anyone over 21 years-old. The bill would also help get lower level marijuana possession/trafficking charges expunged, and introduce a 10% sales tax on marijuana and related products.

That 10% sales tax could lead to millions of dollars in revenue for the state. According to a study done by The Ohio State University, the potential revenue from adult use cannabis could be “from $276 million to $374 million in year five of an operational adult-use cannabis market”.

Representative Weinstein said that HB 168 was created using models from other states that have successfully legalized marijuana, including Michigan and Colorado.

“We were able to look at best practices. What’s worked, what hasn’t, and integrate those into our bill,” Rep. Weinstein explained, “We took the best stuff from across the nation and saw how legalization impacted the states and now we’ve got to act we’re at real risk of falling behind at this point”.

Weinstein acknowledged that, with Ohioans going to other states for marijuana, there’s been a missed opportunity. Millions of dollars potentially are being spent in places like Michigan, when they could be helping communities in Ohio.

“Folks should be able to participate in the economic benefits of the industry,” Rep. Weinstein said, “Particularly those communities and individuals who have been excluded from the benefits in the past”.

HB 168 has been referred to the Finance Committee, with a potential vote not likely until the fall when lawmakers return from summer break. You can follow the bill’s progress at the link here.