NEWS BRIEF

Ohio lawmakers introduce bill to legalize recreational cannabis

Two Democratic state lawmakers in Ohio on Friday introduced a bill to legalize recreational cannabis.

According to Toledo TV station WTVG, the measure would establish a 10% excise tax on gross receipts of marijuana retailers.

The bill sponsors – state Reps. Casey Weinstein and Terrence Upchurch – said they’re hopeful the measure will pass with bipartisan support.

But at least two Republican lawmakers told WTVG they’re staunchly opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana.

The move follows an announcement earlier this week that a group of cannabis advocates have launched a campaign to put adult-use cannabis on Ohio’s 2022 ballot.

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol filed formal paperwork with the secretary of state’s office to get the ball rolling on the campaign, Cleveland.com reported.

The adult-use bill introduced Friday has similar provisions, including the excise tax rate.

The situation could prove to be a repeat of 2016, when medical marijuana supporters in Ohio were able to force the state Legislature to pass an MMJ legalization measure simply by organizing their own campaign.

Once lawmakers approved a bill, the backers suspended their campaign. There are rumblings that could be the goal this time as well.

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