Two Republican state lawmakers in Ohio have introduced a bill to change the state’s medical marijuana regulations, which would allow more people to use cannabis for medicinal purposes and establish a new state agency to manage the program.
Senate Bill (SB) 9, sponsored by State Senators Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City) and Kirk Schuring (R-Canton), is similar to another proposal from the previous legislative session, SB 261, which was passed by the Ohio Senate in December 2021 but was defeated in the Ohio House of Representatives.
An activist-led petition for marijuana legalization in Ohio has been formally resubmitted to the legislature by the Ohio Secretary of State, giving legislators four months to evaluate the change. Advocates may then gather more signatures to get the issue on the November ballot if legislators do not take action.
In a letter to legislative leaders, Secretary of State Frank LaRose stated that he had fulfilled his duty to introduce the reform proposal to the legislature on the first day of the new session and to begin the four-month timeframe for lawmakers to consider it.
Activists in the state have been working to enact local cannabis reform over recent election cycles. While decriminalization did not qualify for every municipal ballot that advocates targeted for 2022, six Ohio cities voted on policy changes.
Five of the six Ohio cities approved local marijuana decriminalization ballot initiatives during the midterm election.