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Ohio Governor Pushes Lawmakers To Ban Public Marijuana Consumption And Delta-8 THC Products In State Of The State Speech



The Republican governor of Ohio is renewing his call for lawmakers to pass legislation banning public marijuana consumption—because he says Ohioans don’t want to smell cannabis—and also to prohibit the sale of intoxicating hemp-derived cannabinoids like delta-8 THC.

In his State of the State address on Tuesday, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) included the cannabis items in a list of legislative priorities, but he notably did not reiterate his interest in expediting adult-use sales as he’s done several times since voters approved legalization at the ballot last November—though regulators are moving to launch the market ahead of schedule in any case.

“We must respect the will of Ohio voters. Absolutely,” he said. “However, I doubt if very many people who voted yes on Issue 2 wanted their kids breathing in marijuana smoke while walking in a public park or on a sidewalk to ball practice or smelling the stench of it walking from the parking lot to a Guardians game or Reds game.”

“That’s not what people voted for. But make no mistake about it: That is what the current law allows and will continue to allow until we do something about it,” DeWine said. “We owe it to our families to change that. And you have the power to do that. I ask you to exercise that power. It’s not what people want.”

He said that another “urgent” issue the General Assembly should address is restricting intoxicating cannabinoids. He said substances such as delta-8 THC are “widely unregulated” and “easily accessible to kids in gas stations and convenience stores in Ohio and disguised as candies. gummies and even breakfast cereals.”

“It can cause hallucinations, vomiting, tremors, anxiety, dizziness, confusion and even loss of consciousness,” the governor said. “Members of the General Assembly: Today I’m asking you to pass legislation to ban the sale of these dangerous products to our children.”

DeWine has made clear that while he feels it’s important to respect the will of voters who approved marijuana legalization, he wants to see certain changes to the law that’s actively being implemented.

Legislative leaders had discussed putting together a bill to make various changes to the law, including expediting sales, but the plans have largely fallen apart amid disagreement within the GOP-controlled legislature.

House Speaker Jason Stephens (R) told the Statehouse News Bureau on Tuesday that “there’s just not that consensus right now” to substantively change what voters approved.

The Senate did pass an amendment package just prior to legalization taking effect, but the House has not taken it up, nor has it moved to advance a different proposal that originate in the House.

While regulators have until September to start issuing cannabis business licenses, a GOP lawmaker who chairs a rulemaking committee said this week that sales could launch as soon as June under a regulatory plan that his panel set to approve.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,400 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.

Regulators already implemented a change last month that allows medical marijuana patients and caregivers to obtain or renew their registrations for only one penny.

The fee elimination is part of an initial package of rules that DCC released in February to implement adult-use legalization.

Following voter approval of legalization at the ballot, the Department of Commerce was quick to publish an FAQ guide for residents to learn about the new law and timeline for implementation.

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Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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