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Ohio gov wants changes – quickly

Ohio’s Republican governor wants changes made to some aspects of the adult-use cannabis initiative that voters overwhelming approved at the polls Tuesday.

Gov. Mike DeWine, who opposed Issue 2 heading into the election, wants to see some child protections related to advertising and edibles as well as curbs to limit intoxicated drivers and public exposure to marijuana smoke, The (Cincinnati) Inquirer reported.

The governor also wants those tweaks to happen within 30 days, reported.

That timetable jibes with a Dec. 7 deadline the ballot initiative set for certain “elements of the law go into effect … including lifting of criminal penalties for marijuana possession, to avoid public confusion that would result from shifting laws,” according to Cleveland news outlet.

DeWine stopped short of calling for a repeal of the measure, though state lawmakers have the authority to do so on any voter-approved initiatives.

Tom Haren, a spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol campaign, blasted the governor’s position.

“I can’t believe in 2023 we’re actually talking about elected officials not respecting the will of the voters and not respecting the outcome of an election,” he said, according to The Inquirer.

“I think that every single voter in Ohio has a right to expect that elected officials will implement and respect the will of voters.”

The governor shared an anecdote to help explain his stance on marijuana smoke.

“I had the experience a month or so ago being in some unnamed state, you walked around the city and there was a rare time when you were not smelling marijuana,” DeWine said, according to the Inquirer.

“The voters have said people have a right to smoke marijuana, that’s fine.

“But other people have the right not to smell it and not to have their kids and grandkids exposed to it.”

Marijuana smoke already falls under the state’s smoking ban, and Issue 2 prohibits cannabis use in public.

However, the initiative does allow property owners and “any public place” to make their own decisions regarding consumption, perhaps opening the door to marijuana events and consumption venues.

Those issues will likely be decided by state regulators, who must craft rules and regulations within nine months, and individual municipalities.

Of course, reining in public consumption in adult-use states is nearly impossible and a strain on law enforcement resources and priorities.

Ohio residents overwhelmingly approved the ballot measure legalizing adult-use cultivation and retail, drawing 57% support, according to unofficial tallies.

Ohio joined 23 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing adult-use marijuana.

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