Cranley Tweets Support for Legalizing Marijuana in Ohio as Democrats Introduce a New Recreational Weed Bill

The tweet comes as Democrats in Congress say they're making cannabis a priority.

Jul 16, 2021 at 2:47 pm
click to enlarge Ohio Democrats are looking to legalize recreational marijuana within the state. - Photo: Budding, Unsplash
Photo: Budding, Unsplash
Ohio Democrats are looking to legalize recreational marijuana within the state.

Bring on the weed.

In a tweet on Thursday, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley called on Ohio legislators to legalize marijuana and let state residents benefit from its economic perks.

"If we legalized marijuana, we could invest that tax revenue right back into our communities," Cranley said. "We could rebuild our roads and fund public education. We could expand healthcare for our communities."

"It's time we legalize marijuana in Ohio," he concluded.

Some Ohio Democrats are working to pass laws that would allow for recreational use and taxable weed. This week, state Reps. Casey Weinstein of Hudson and Terrence Upchurch of Cleveland introduced a bill to legalize personal and business cultivation of marijuana while regulating weed sales. The bill also could seal the records for those who have been convicted of lower marijuana crimes and permit them to participate in Ohio's new industry.

If the bill moves forward and passes significant GOP barriers, adults age 21 and older would be able to hold up to five ounces of weed and grow up to 12 marijuana plants, but only for personal use. Cities would be able to cap how many marijuana businesses there are within town limits.

Ohio already approves and regulates medical marijuana within the state, and under Casey's and Weinstein's bill, those approved medical dispensaries and cultivators could be licensed for recreational sales, too. 

State, local and a 10% excise tax would be applied to all weed purchases. The bill includes financial provisions that would benefit education, veterans and road repairs. There also are incentives for people who are not white to become business owners or get involved in other ways.

The state's new weed industry would be overseen by the Ohio Department of Commerce.

The bill would be the first in Ohio that attempts to create a regulated weed market.

Democrats at the federal level also are exploring new cannabis options that could affect state markets.

A day after unveiling proposed legislation to end federal cannabis prohibition, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said that doing so was a top priority.

"I am the first majority leader to say it's time to end the federal prohibition on marijuana and as majority leader, I'm going to push this issue forward and make it a priority for the Senate," Schumer said Thursday, according to The Hill.

On July 14, Schumer introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which would legalize marijuana by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act, allowing for it to be taxed and regulated.

The bill would allow financial services such as bank accounts and loans for legal cannabis businesses. Even though many states, including Michigan, have legalized marijuana for recreational use, it remains a Schedule 1 banned drug in the eyes of the federal government, which can put many legal businesses in hot water when it comes to banking.

The proposed legislation would also immediately expunge the criminal records of people with low-level marijuana offenses.

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Ron Wyden of Oregon, both Democrats, are sponsors.

"At long last, it would take steps to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs," Schumer said.

A portion of this story was originally published by CityBeat sister paper Detroit Metro Times.

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