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Republican Lawmakers Introduce Marijuana Legalization Bill In Ohio As Advocates Celebrate Cannabis Lobby Day

On Tuesday, Ohio Rep. Jamie Callender (R) held a press conference to unveil his new proposal that would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess marijuana. The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Ferguson (R), would provide regulations for the licensing of cannabis growers, distributors and retailers.

Limited home cultivation would be allowed in the bill and revenue resulting from a 10 percent tax on marijuana sales would go to the state’s general revenue, law enforcement, mental health, addiction treatment, and recovery services.

The legislation also contains provisions to expunge prior cannabis records.

Callender and Ferguson will circulate a co-sponsorship memo to build support for the forthcoming legislation and aim to file the bill within the next six weeks. 

Momentum Building

Ohio’s legalization momentum has been building in 2021. In July, Reps. Terrence Upchurch and Casey Weinstein began circulating a draft memo to their colleagues to garner support prior to formally filing a bill that would legalize adult-use cannabis, marking the first time a proposal allowing recreational cannabis commerce is introduced in the state legislature.

As of today, 22 jurisdictions across Ohio have adopted local statutes to decriminalize cannabis possession. Activists have succeeded in collecting enough signatures to qualify cannabis proposals for the November ballot.

Cannabis Lobby Day

On October 13, activists will meet at Ohio’s State House Atrium for Ohio Cannabis Lobby Day 2021, to educate legislators and the general public about the need for medical marijuana patients’ rights as well as to legalize and regulate cannabis.

A Bill That ‘Supports People’s Individual Rights and Liberties’ 

In the recent Republican-introduced bill, the state Department of Commerce would oversee the recreational marijuana program, and the legislation would allow existing medical cannabis businesses to enter the adult-use market. 

Described by Callender as “a bill that gets the rhetoric into the spirit of cooperation” takes the existing medical marijuana structure and expands it to regulate adult-use.

Ferguson said, “the foundational principles for this country (…) have been to support people’s individual rights and liberties, adults should be able to make decisions for themselves, and that is what this bill does.”

Callender referred to the precarious state of the economy and argued that the bill would bring extra funding that would go to the general revenue fund and can get the legislature more financial flexibility without having to look at tax increases in the future.

These are some of the public cannabis companies already providing cannabis to Ohio dispensaries:

Cresco Labs (OTCQX:CRLBF), which has the broadest type of cultivation license in the state (25,000 square feet), a complete processing facility, and the maximum number of retail stores, supplies cannabis flower, and products to 88% of dispensaries in Ohio.

Jushi Holdings Inc. (CSE:JUSH) (OTCQX:JUSHF) recently acquired Franklin Bioscience OH, LLC, a licensed medical cannabis processor in Ohio, and in July purchased OhiGrow, LLC. Also in July, Verano Holdings Corp. (CSE:VRNO) (OTCQX:VRNOF) bought its fifth dispensary in Ohio. 

Aaron Miles, Chief Investment Officer of Verano Holdings, and Olivier Blechner, Executive Vice President of Business Development of Jushi Holdings Inc. will part-take in the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference being held in New York on October 14-15. Tickets are still available to secure your spot at the conference. for both in-person and virtual gatherings of cannabis entrepreneurs and investors from around the world.
 

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