Despite cannabis being legal in Ohio, there is still no place to buy it as lawmakers continue to spar over the legalization initiative voters approved on Nov. 7. Those who initially opposed the legalization bid say the new law has no guardrails.
In record speed, less than 48 hours after the vote, the Senate passed a bill to address issues that it found distasteful. Though pressured to do so, the House decided not to take up the issue before the holiday recess, arguing that it was too important to rush.
Now, Lt. Governor Jon Husted (R) is finally speaking out on the issue in general while bashing the House in particular. “They have a responsibility to take action on this and they have just walked away without fulfilling that responsibility,” said Husted of the House, which is also predominantly Republican.
“I thank the Senate for taking action on this, the House went home, didn’t act and it is going to be harmful to kids,” said Husted, who opposed legalization.
The House Speaker Jason Stephens defended the body’s decision to take it slow and not violate the will of voters. “I don’t agree with that at all, I think we have a duty to take in information and make good decisions instead of rash decisions,” Jason Stephens (R) said. “We have 99 members, that’s a lot of voices; we are starting to get to that consolidation of what makes the most sense.”
Ohio House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D), agreed with Stephens, noting that “rushing to undermine” the law would be a “huge mistake.”
“There certainly are statewide elected [officials], as well as the senate president, who don’t agree with what the voters passed, that’s fine, that’s their prerogative,” she said to local media. “But that’s not a failure that we haven’t totally upended the will of the voters.”
‘But The Children’ Argument Debunked
A government-sponsored Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey completed in November 2023 by the University of Michigan found that teen cannabis use “remained stable for all three grades surveyed,” and is still below pre-pandemic usage.
Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that teen and pre-teen cannabis use has continued to decline in legal marijuana states across the U.S. as adult and senior marijuana consumption hit historic highs in 2022, which suggests regulated markets, with ID checks and other safeguards, are effectively keeping weed out of young hands.