Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, embroiled in a whirlwind of controversy over his veto of a bill that would restrict transgender healthcare, also called for immediate action from lawmakers on regulating Delta-8 THC, a hemp-derived product widely accessible at gas stations and convenience stores.
In an interview with WLWT’s John London, DeWine acknowledged the fierce criticism following his healthcare decision, over which Donald Trump called the Ohio governor a “stiff.”
Messy Cannabis Market: DeWine then turned his attention to Ohio’s nascent recreational cannabis market, which he called “a mess.”
Ohioans voted to legalize adult-use cannabis on Nov. 7, 2023. Since then, the GOP-dominated state Senate approved a bill to alter certain aspects of the original initiative while the House, which also has a Republican majority, has not and may never adopt.
Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens and other members are leaning toward leaving the initiative the way it was written when 57% of Ohio voters approved it.
Delta-8 THC In Ohio: At the moment, it’s Delta-8 THC, a psychoactive hemp derivative, that has Gov. DeWine alarmed due to its potential hallucinogenic effects and easy access for minors. He is urging the legislature to grant authorities the power to curb its sale.
“It’s hallucinogenic and they shouldn’t be able to buy it,” DeWine said. “Yet I don’t have the authority, nor do the local police under current law to stop that from happening. We’ve asked the legislature and I’m asking them again to give us the authority to stop this.”
Trump Controversy: DeWine seemed to have poked the hornet’s nest when he vetoed a House bill that would have banned gender-affirming care. He said that protecting human life was the right call and stood firm, citing conversations with parents who credit gender-affirming care with saving their children’s lives.
“Parents told me they looked me in the eye and they said my child would be dead if they had not received this care,” DeWine told WLWT.
Trump responded snidely in a post on Truth Social. “I’m finished with this stiff. What was he thinking?”
Asked if he would support Trump’s bid for president if he is the Republican nominee, DeWine said, “We’ll see.”