Ohio recreational marijuana plan would allow 6 plants


By Laura Hancock - Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland (TNS)



COLUMBUS, Ohio — The proposed constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana for adults — regulating it like alcohol — has a home grow provision: Six plants per household, including up to three that can be flowering.

But there are caveats — the growing area must be enclosed and locked. Growing cannot be conducted openly or publicly and nothing can be available for sale.

The coalition backing the proposed amendment — which includes marijuana businesses currently licensed under the state’s medical cannabis program, as well as patients and other Ohioans — believed including home grow provisions was important. Many of the backers are behind recreational because they believe the state botched the implementation of the medical program when it passed the law and developed rules, beginning in 2016.

“We think it’s an important component in meaningful access,” said Tom Haren, a Cleveland attorney representing the backers. “That’s really the driving force: Making sure people have the access they should have had four years ago.”

The license holders behind the proposal don’t see home grow as a threat.

“We don’t view them as necessarily being in competition with one another, the same reason that brewing beer in your home doesn’t keep you from going to the grocery store to buy beer or getting a beer after work,” Haren said.

Other licensed marijuana businesses that are not part of the recreational proposal may disagree with the home grow, said Thomas Rosenberger, associate director of the Ohio Medical Cannabis Cultivators Association.

“I don’t know if it will amount to that much opposition,” he said. “There will be licensees who would prefer to not see home grow, but I don’t know if they will spend millions to oppose it.”

The constitutional amendment proposal faces numerous hurdles before the campaign can attempt to collect signatures for the November ballot.

In Michigan, where recreational marijuana was legalized in December, 12 plants total are allowed to be grown per household.

Illinois, which also recently began a recreational program, only allows home grow for its medical patients, who can grow five plants.

“I don’t imagine there will be sweeps from regulators or law enforcement,” said Haren, the attorney behind the Ohio recreational proposal. “But we do think it’s important to have some guardrails. In line with what we’ve done with a lot of our amendment language, we tried to be moderate, put forward a path for Ohio.”

Chris Lindsey, government relations director for the Marijuana Policy Project said that many states with medical or recreational programs allow people to grow their own cannabis.

Colorado at one point allowed people to grow up to 99 marijuana plants.

“It created a serious challenge because it was not difficult to get cover for an illicit operation,” he said. “That dynamic was put to an end, they don’t do that anymore.”

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By Laura Hancock

Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland (TNS)

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