Responsible Ohio, a group advocating for the legalization of marijuana in Ohio, has proposed an Amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would permit those 21 years of age and older to use medicinal marijuana, recreational marijuana and marijuana-infused products. Provided the necessary signatures are acquired, the issue will be placed on the November 3, 2015 General Election ballot. The following is an extensive summary on the proposed Amendment.
Proposed Ohio Constitutional Amendment
Marijuana Control Commission
The proposed “Marijuana Control Commission” would regulate the acquisition, growth, cultivation, distribution, sales, licensing, and taxation of medical marijuana, recreational marijuana and marijuana-infused products, along with the operations of marijuana establishments. Moreover, the proposed Amendment will set forth the specific subject matter for regulations to be promulgated by the Commission and will require the Commission to establish a system for tracking all marijuana and marijuana-infused products from germination to consumer transaction.
Marijuana Grow Facilities
Ten (10) locations will be licensed for marijuana growth, cultivation and extraction. Marijuana may only be grown, cultivated and extracted for sale and medical use at these 10 sites. The following counties will have sites: Butler, Clermont, Franklin, Hamilton, Licking, Lorain, Lucas, Delaware, Stark and Summit.
Marijuana Product Manufacturing
The Commission will license Marijuana Product Manufacturing facilities to produce marijuana-infused products. Only these licensed facilities may produce marijuana-infused products. The Commission will also promulgate standards to regulate the chemical content and potency of the products, along with standards for manufacturing, packaging and advertising these products.
Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
The Commission will license not-for-profit medical marijuana dispensaries to dispense medical marijuana to patients with medical conditions. Medical marijuana may only be sold and dispensed by state licensed and regulated dispensaries. The number of dispensaries within any area would be determined by the Commission. Medical marijuana and marijuana-infused products would be require to sell at their lowest wholesale prices.
The Commission will license retail marijuana stores to sell marijuana and marijuana-infused products to those 21 years of age or older. The Commission will determine the number of retail stores that will be permitted in any area. However, the total number of stores statewide would be limited to one store per 10,000 residents.
The location of retail marijuana stores would first need to be approved by the electors of the precinct where the store would be located. The retail marijuana store could only purchase from one of the 10 marijuana growing facilities or marijuana product manufactures, except for marijuana accessories and related products.
A flat tax of 5% would be imposed on all gross revenue of each of the 10 marijuana grow sites and marijuana product manufacturing facilities, and 5% on all gross revenue of each retail marijuana store, without any deduction for expenses or distribution of any profit. Each of the 10 marijuana grow sites, marijuana product manufacturing facilities, and retail marijuana stores will be subject to the state commercial activities tax (CAT) and all other taxes, fees, etc. to be paid by businesses in general. Medical marijuana dispensaries will be required to pay the same taxes, fees, etc. as other not-for-profit organizations.
It will only be lawful for persons 21 years of age or older to purchase, possess, use and transport 1 ounce or less or its equivalent in marijuana-infused products and accessories. It will only be lawful for persons 21 years of age or older to grow, cultivate, use, or possess homegrown marijuana not to exceed 4 plants and 8 ounces of usable marijuana at a given time, provided the person has obtained a license to do so.
No marijuana establishment can be located within 1000 feet of a house of worship, elementary school, public library, state licensed child daycare facility, or public playground. There will be a prohibition against knowingly selling or transferring marijuana to persons under the age of 21, except for transfers by medical marijuana dispensaries to qualifying patients or caregivers.
No person under 21 years of age may be employed in any marijuana establishment. Additionally, no person may have an ownership interest in, or be an officer or director of, a marijuana establishment who is under 21 years of age or has been convicted of a felony within the prior 5 years and from continuing to hold an ownership interest in or be an officer or director upon conviction of a felony.
Zoning and Licensing Fees
Marijuana establishments will be subject to all applicable state and local laws and regulations related to health, safety and building codes, but no zoning, land use law, or regulation shall prohibit the development or operation of marijuana establishments.
An annual license fee of $25,000 will be required for marijuana product manufacturing facilities and $10,000 for retail marijuana stores.
Full Amendment Text
The text of the full Amendment can be found at the following link:
The commercial system for Ohio marijuana will be segmented into three distinct areas: (1) wholesalers; (2) marijuana-infused product manufacturing; and (3) retail. Ten (10) wholesale grow facilities will be licensed to grow, cultivate and extract marijuana. These 10 wholesalers will only be permitted to sell to licensed marijuana product manufacturers and retailers.
Licenses will be granted to permit Ohio-based entrepreneurs the ability to establish a marijuana product manufacturing facility to create edibles and other consumables. These manufacturers will only be permitted to sell to retailers. Prospective marijuana retail owners will be required to obtain local precinct vote approval before being licensed to open a retail marijuana store. This process will be similar to the existing alcohol permitting process.
Marijuana Control Commission
The Marijuana Control Commission shall have the authority to issue, revoke and increase the number of licenses in Ohio. The Commission shall also have the authority to regulate the growth, cultivation, extraction, sale, licensing, advertising and taxation of medical marijuana, recreational marijuana and marijuana-infused products, and the operation of marijuana establishments.
While polling on ResponsibleOhio’s plan as not been conducted, the latest Quinnipiac poll found that 87% of Ohioans favored legalizing medicinal marijuana and 51% support the legalization of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use. According to the University of Cincinnati’s Institute for Policy Research, 73% of Ohioans support the legalization of medicinal marijuana.