Ohio Senate bill would permit medical marijuana shops to sell legal, recreational pot

COLUMBUS — Recreational marijuana is now legal in Ohio after voters passed Issue 2 in November.

>>PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Recreational marijuana now legal in Ohio; What to expect

State lawmakers are now fast-tracking a bill that would put measures in place to allow the sale of recreational marijuana.

The Ohio Senate passed a bill Wednesday night.

>>RELATED: Recreational marijuana will soon be legal in Ohio; What to expect

Starting today, it is legal for people to use marijuana but there is nowhere to buy it legally.

Governor Mike DeWine is pushing for a plan that would allow medical dispensaries to sell immediately.

“We have an obligation to implement a safe, legal market,” he said at a news conference on Wednesday. “We also have an obligation to protect those who don’t want to be exposed to it.”

DeWine added that the majority of Ohioans want to purchase marijuana legally.

>>3 local cities temporarily stopping parts of Issue 2

News Center 7′s Xavier Hershovitz says the Ohio Senate bill includes the following:

  • Changing the law to allow six plants per house (down from 12)
  • It also allows immediate sales at medical dispensaries
  • It protects voter-approved possession limits and THC limits for plant-based material.

DeWine is pushing the Ohio House to pass this bill as soon as possible to eliminate an odd limbo.

“People will be getting it from many sources, none of them legally. The consumption will go up,” he said. “People will be able to use it, but they won’t be able to legally buy it anywhere. We don’t need an expanding black market.”

He is concerned consumers could get marijuana laced with other drugs.

“Without this bill, people could be buying marijuana that has fentanyl in it, the leading cause of overdoses in Ohio,” said DeWine.

>>RELATED: State lawmakers proposing changes to Issue 2

Hershovitz says the Ohio House could vote on this bill as soon as next week.

He adds that the bill also provides a path for the expungement of past marijuana possession convictions when requested.

>>PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Ohio voters approve Issue 2, becomes 24th state to legalize recreational marijuana

News Center 7 spoke with Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck before the Ohio Senate bill passed.

He said that it wouldn’t change much in his office for the most part, but even before his new law, he expected there would be some requests for expungement.

“I would expect that there is going to be a lot of complaints filed to try to eliminate the collateral sanctions and also try to seal or expunge their record,” he previously told News Center 7.

For now, the version of Issue 2 that voters passed is in effect. That currently does not allow for legal recreational pot sales in dispensaries just yet.

Under Issue 2 the Ohio Department of Commerce still has eight months to come up with regulations before we see any of them open in the state.

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