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Tim Johnson on Ohio's New Cannabis Law

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

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Welcome Guest Author Tim Johnson

Guest author Tim Johnson is founder and CEO of Cannabis Safety First, a safety and security asset protection solution vendor based in Columbus, Ohio. When Ohio became the 24th U.S. state to pass adult-use cannabis legislation, life for the state's cannabis consumers and the companies that service them—or might serve them in the near future—changed forever.

Tim Johnson on the steps of the Ohio Statehouse
Tim Johnson from Cannabis Safety First

With 57 percent of the vote, Ohio's ballot-defined approval rating for legal weed is the third highest among all 24 states that have legalized to date. It barely trails stalwart California's 57.1 percent in 2016 (Prop 64) and Arizona's pack-leading 60 percent in 2020 (Proposition 207).


Learn more in our exclusive Ohio Cannabis: Buckeye Bongs Now Legal article.


Tim Johnson on Ohio's New Cannabis Law

Johnson is one of the most informed and articulate voices in the nascent Ohio cannabis industry (currently medical only). His nose to the grindstone mentality—in addition to his efforts to network and educate others—results in an insight that is of value to all industry professionals, including those outside of the Buckeye State.


Below, Johnson shares his thoughts about the new recreational cannabis law in Ohio that affects all citizens 21 and over.

 

Not So Fast, Ohio

"Not so fast, Ohio! You now have adult choice cannabis rights, brought to you by Ohio Issue 2 passing with a landslide victory. Although the initiative passed, we must now be patient and respect the rulemaking process period in promulgating the regulatory compliance rules under the new ORC3780 chapter for both the consumers and the businesses.

A large sign reading Cleveland in Cleveland, on the lakefront.
Will Cleveland rock with marijuana?

"The initiative contains basically suggestive language to create the rules and 'language of the law.' However, if not acted upon within 30 days by the Ohio General Assembly, it becomes a law with unclear rules. The language in Issue 2 may be of value as an affirmative defense should there be an encounter with the judicial system.


"The concerns around personal cultivation, possession, and consumption will still be a court decision if the actual rule has not been written."

"We must also remember ORC2925/2929 chapters, definitions, and penalties of controlled substances is still regulating the illicit market players. The concerns around personal cultivation, possession, and consumption will still be a court decision if the actual rule has not been written.


Options & More Options

"No worries, although we are hearing minimal pushback from certain lawmakers, they too are under a timeline to act within the thirty days. The Ohio Senate appears to have three session options to act on language or to extend the timeline; the Ohio House appears to have four session options.

A city in Ohio
Ohio wants adult-use marijuana.

Timeline Extension Likely

Tim Johnson on Ohio's New Cannabis Law. "It is expected the timeline will be extended, but we could see a few rules put in place regarding some of the basic rights language, including personal cultivation, possession, and consumption.


"The timeline will likely be extended. We could see a few rules put in place regarding some of the basic rights language, including personal cultivation."

"Rules regarding dual dispensary license applications for dispensaries to become medical and adult-use should come soon. Packaging requirements and POS [point-of-sale] rules could be put in place quickly. The benefit of using the current medical program infrastructure, including existing physical facilities, will expedite the rule making process.

A large grain silo in Mansfield, Ohio on a sunny day.
Ohio goes all-in for recreational pot

"The hopeful additional of more cultivation and dispensary licenses may be challenged. A lottery system may be employed to award additional licenses. We must respect Ohio HB33, Ohio's budget bill, including the creation of the Marijuana Control Board to manage the medical and adult-use programs under a single entity.


"This Board will be in conflict with Issue 2's creation of a Cannabis Control Commission serving the same purpose. For now it appears the Board will control the programs."

Marijuana Control Board Coming

"This Board will be in conflict with Issue 2's creation of a Cannabis Control Commission serving the same purpose. For now it appears the Board will control the programs. Either way both will need to appoint members which may take some time.


"The impact on Ohio will present important discussions about criminal justice reform, housing, employment, the economy, taxes, and personal rights. These will all be played out as the program grows. With Ohio voters passing Issue 2, we can only hope the morals and ethics of our lawmakers will respect the will of the majority in this victory for the Ohio cannabis community."


Tim Johnson

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