Connect with us


Cleveland Mayor Says He’s Open To Taking Marijuana Gummy, But Argues State Needs To ‘Get It Together’ To Provide Legal Sales First



The mayor of Cleveland, Ohio says he’s open to consuming a marijuana gummy—but first the state needs to “get it together” and provide regulated access under its voter-approved legalization law.

At the end of an extensive interview with Cleveland Scene that was published last week, reporter Mark Oprea asked Mayor Justin Bibb (D) if he would “smoke with us” now that cannabis has been legalized for adults.

“Would I smoke with you?” Bibb asked, laughing. “I’d take a gummy with you. How’s that?”

“Oh, really?” the interviewer asked.

“Yeah, well, I got to find somewhere to buy some,” the mayor said. “The state’s got to get it together first.”

The lighthearted moment does get at a key policy issue that the Ohio legislature is actively working to address: creating an expedited pathway to start legal marijuana sales.

It’s one area of agreement between lawmakers in both parties, as the legalization law that was enacted in November outlines a protracted process under which it would take until late in 2024 before adult consumers could buy cannabis from licensed retailers.

Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said he supports a legalization amendment package the Senate passed last month, which would provide for sales through existing medical cannabis dispensaries within 90 days of enactment. However, he acknowledged the House has a differing version and pushed for lawmakers to “work together and make sure that we can deal with with this problem.”

The Cleveland mayor, meanwhile, has also been closely tracking the cannabis reform debate, and he’s already taken steps to build on the reform.

For example, he announced last month that the city has “modernized” its drug testing policies for applicants for city jobs post-legalization, eliminating “antiquated language around pre-employment marijuana testing that has previously hindered hiring efforts.”

Under a bill that the governor signed last year, Bibb also moved ahead with plans to file motions to expunge more than 4,000 past marijuana conviction records.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 900 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

With respect to the broader legalization implementation debate, some Democratic lawmakers have indicated that they may be amenable to certain revisions, such as putting certain cannabis tax revenue toward K-12 education. But other supporters of the voter-passed legalization initiative are firmly against letting legislators undermine the will of the majority that approved it.

Ohio Rep. Juanita Brent (D) has emphasized that people who’ve been criminalized over marijuana, as well as those with industry experience, should be involved in any efforts to amend the state’s voter-approved legalization law, arguing that it shouldn’t be left up to “anti-cannabis” legislators alone to revise the statute.

Meanwhile, Rep. Gary Click (R) filed legislation in late November that would allow individual municipalities to locally ban the use and home cultivation of cannabis in their jurisdictions and also revise how state marijuana tax revenue would be distributed by, for example, reducing funds allocated to social equity and jobs programs and instead steering them toward law enforcement training.

Following voter approval of legalization, the Ohio Department of Commerce was quick to publish an FAQ guide for residents to learn about the new law and timeline for implementation, though regulators repeatedly noted that the policies may be subject to change depending on how the legislature acts.

The commerce department also announced last month that the state’s top alcohol regulator, who previously worked as a prosecutor, would be heading up the new Ohio marijuana regulatory division.

Hawaii Attorney General Sends Marijuana Legalization Bill To Lawmakers, But Says She ‘Does Not Support’ It

Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
Become a patron at Patreon!

Marijuana News In Your Inbox

Get our daily newsletter.

Support Marijuana Moment

Marijuana News In Your Inbox


Get our daily newsletter.