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Ohio's 2023 Cannabis Chronicles: Inside the Landmark Reforms & Future Risks

cannabis buds
cannabis buds

Date: December 31, 2023

Author: Ohio Cannabis Live

As 2023 winds down, Ohio's cannabis landscape has seen significant developments, both progressive and challenging. It's been a year of triumph with the legalization of cannabis for adults over 21 under Issue 2, but also a year of ongoing legislative battles, primarily surrounding Senate Bill 86 (SB-86) and House Bill 354 (HB-354).

Issue 2: A Step Forward

Issue 2's legalization of cannabis marked a major victory for cannabis advocates. Adults over 21 can now legally use cannabis, and medical cannabis remains accessible for those 18 and older with a medical cannabis card. However, purchases from dispensaries still require an Ohio medical cannabis card. Anyone over 21 can have up to 2.5 ounces of flower plant material and 15 grams of concentrates with any criminal punishment .

Home Growing and Public Consumption

Individuals can home grow up to six plants per person, with a maximum of 12 plants per household. However, public consumption of cannabis at bars, breweries, and restaurants is prohibited . Any business with a liquor license could loose their license if patrons consume cannabis on the property .

The Challenges: SB-86 and HB-354

Ohio Senate Bill 86 and House Bill 354 have been focal points of controversy. SB-86, particularly, has been criticized for attempting to reduce home grow limits, lowering the THC cap, increasing taxes on cultivators, and proposing a higher recreational sales tax. This bill aimed to shift a significant portion of adult sales tax revenue to police and prisons, rather than social justice initiatives. The Ohio Capital Journal reports that the Senate bill would increase the marijuana tax rate to 15% and limit home grow to six plants per household, a departure from Issue 2's more liberal provisions.

HB-354, while aiming to clarify Issue 2's language, also proposed changes. It intended to maintain the home grow status under Issue 2 but introduced an additional 10% wholesale tax directed towards various funds, including those for law enforcement and crime victims assistance

Public Participation and Vigilance

As we enter 2024, it's crucial for Ohioans to stay informed and engaged. The legislative process allows for public participation through written testimony or in-person testimonies at committee meetings. This engagement is vital to ensure that amendments to Issue 2 reflect public interest and don't undermine the core principles of cannabis reform.

The Future of Cannabis in Ohio

Ohio's cannabis story is far from over. With new dispensaries opening and the cannabis landscape evolving, staying vigilant and active in cannabis advocacy remains essential. The battle may have won significant victories in 2023, but the war for fair and just cannabis laws continues.

This article serves as a call to action. Share your thoughts, engage in the conversation, and spread awareness. Together, we can shape a responsible and progressive cannabis future in Ohio.

Further Insights:

For more in-depth discussions and updates, don't forget to check out my latest live stream. You can find it here


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