Recreational Marijuana now legal in Ohio but road ahead remains uncertain
Voter-approved Issue Two faces a potentially hazy future based on moves lawmakers have made.
Ohio medical marijuana pioneer Jimmy Gould had a lot to say on Thursday about a push by lawmakers to rewrite the Buckeye State's new recreational marijuana law — known as Issue Two — which took effect at midnight.
"People are tired of being told what to do," Gould said. "They don't want the government, state, local, fed telling them how to live their life."
Gould had a dispensary in Monroe in Warren County and now owns one in Columbus.
"I supported Issue Two because we need it to be able to expand the market. But unfortunately, what's happening here is the medical program is going to suffer, and the recreational, or slash, adult program — it's completely ineffectual in the way they've designed it," Gould said.
Gould is referring to state senators who passed a bill last night that would fast-track sales of legal weed at medical dispensaries like the one he runs.
The measure would reduce by half — but not eliminate — the number of pot plants adults can grow at home, from 12 down to six.
But Gould says the devil is in the details. He argues the Senate's plan would drive the price of what he calls "inferior weed" through the roof — while destroying Ohio's medical program.
"I think what just happened with the Senate, they've driven more people to Michigan," Gould said.
Ohio's neighbors to the north have been selling reasonably priced pot for several years.
Gould and other industry insiders are now pinning their hopes on Ohio House members, who are working to craft their own version of Issue Two.
"What want is we want an ecosystem that is healthy for everybody," he said.
On Thursday afternoon, the House Finance Committee heard testimony about House Bill 354, which would make changes relative to Issue Two. It's not clear when, or if, the full House will take the proposal up for consideration.