OHIO — Ohioans have a right to legal pot and they’re not doing a good job of it.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to help with the state’s growing cannabis industry, so the Ohio Senate has passed a bill that would allow local governments to set up legal cannabis businesses and set aside a portion of the state tax money for the purpose.
Under the legislation, which passed the House and is now headed to the Senate, local governments would be allowed to set aside $5 million annually to help fund legal pot businesses.
That money would be set aside in the county where a marijuana cultivation facility is located, which would be defined by the Ohio Health Department as “a county in the State of Ohio or any other county in which a facility is established.”
That’s where marijuana plants are grown and where it’s grown for processing, distribution and other uses.
“It’s just a simple concept that’s been around for a while,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who voted for the bill in both chambers.
“I know many in our community want to see this happen, but I’m not going to get my hopes up about it happening overnight,” DeWina said.
“The bottom line is that this is a step in the right direction, but it’s going to take some time.
This bill is going to be in the works for some time.”
The legislation is in line with a broader initiative that Gov.
John Kasich signed into law last month, which allows local governments in Ohio to set a marijuana tax.
DeWines bill also calls for marijuana cultivation centers to be licensed, as well as a tax on the sale of marijuana to the state.
It’s been a contentious debate in Ohio for some years, with many marijuana activists accusing the state government of stonewalling them and ignoring the will of the people.
Dewine has called it a “travesty of democracy” and a “fraud on the American people.”
The initiative will go before voters in November.