State lawmakers proposing changes to Issue 2

GREENE COUNTY — Ohio Issue 2, which legalizes recreational marijuana, will go into law Thursday.

There is a flurry of laws being proposed at the Statehouse that could have a big impact.

It would mean even more business for places like Cresco Labs in Yellow Springs.

Now, some people claim the actions of state lawmakers are threatening that.

“We’ve seen some attempts to basically subvert the will of the people in Ohio,” Morgan Fox said.

Fox is the political director of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws.

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He said a huge majority, 57 percent, of Ohio voters cast their ballots to support recreational use of marijuana legally.

It makes Ohio one of almost two dozen states in the category, except he said state lawmakers are trying to ban home grow operations.

Fox said voters should be angry with their elected leaders.

“The legislature had almost two years to get its act together and pass legislation that they thought would be in the best interest of Ohio and they punted on the issue,” he said.

Marijuana regulation bills are being introduced in the House and Senate.

State Senator Steve Huffman is backing Senate Bill 261.

In a statement he said:

“The substitute bill addresses the dangerous language defects that prioritize the marijuana industry, not Ohioans and our children. These changes ensure the people’s voices are heard while providing access to a safe, regulated product on the market. Among the changes were protections for our youngest and most vulnerable population, our children. Safeguards include:

• prohibiting the sale of products that are in a shape/form that bears the likeness of an animal, fruit, or fictional human,

• a public smoking ban, and

• ensuring products are sold in a child-resistant container.”

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“We expected efforts to tinker with the law but nothing to this scale or severity,” Fox said.

Fox said he thinks voters need to remind lawmakers that they already expressed their opinion in the ballot box.

“I think voters on both sides of this issue are going to be furious that lawmakers are ignoring their will and basically erasing their voices,” he said.

Businesses like Cresco Labs said they will abide by whatever regulations state lawmakers place on them.

But Issue 2 supports said those regulations should not infringe on what voters approved.

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