|Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.|
A proposal from three Ohio residents to legalize cannabis in that state failed to get over its first political hurdle today after the state attorney general rejected the proposed summary for not being “fair and truthful”.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, the proposal wouldn’t have been on the November 2013 ballot anyway as the deadline for proposed measures has come and gone. That’s good in that it gives End Ohio Cannabis Prohibition, the group who submitted the petition, to get things right.
As currently written, the End Ohio Cannabis Prohibition Act of 2012, would legalize cannabis use and cultivation for adults 18 and up as well as create a state-licensed and legal commercial cannabis industry.
Commercial cannabis production would be regulated by the state, but there would be no limits on the number of plants cultivated or amount of cannabis a commercial operation could possess. Non-commercial cultivation (presumably home growing) would be limited to 99 plants and about 218 pounds. The laws seem to be roughly crafted after homebrewing laws in that non-commercial growers who distribute products resulting “in $400 of income or more” would be subject to applicable taxes. Non-commercial growers could have annual sales up $5,800 before they would have to apply for a commercial license. Home brewing laws in many states allow for the same small-scale home sales and distribution up to a certain value/dollar amount.
Also worth noting is that the bill would prevent employers from using cannabis drug testing to screen applicants as well as protects the state rights of people who use cannabis including gun ownership and child custody. Cannabis consumption wouldn’t be allowed publicly, but would be allowed in private establishments that are open to the public (presumably like hash clubs, bars, etc.).
The bill would also include immediate amnesty for current prisoners and parolees in jail for cannabis crimes made legal by the bill. It would also expunge past marijuana charges.
But all of that is just a pipe dream until the summary is re-written. Specifically, DeWine says the language isn’t fair and truthful mainly because it fails to mention federal law and because of language saying a person can’t be considered under the influence simply because that person has cannabis metabolites in their system.
While we aren’t sure about why first part matters in a state law, but maybe DeWine should do some research before saying something isn’t fair or truthful. Cannabis metabolites, specifically metabolites of spent THC, can remain in the body for weeks after consumption and have no bearing on impairment whatsoever.
DeWine also said the group makes promises of public education on both the pros and cons of recreational cannabis consumption in their summary, but never actually make mention of it in the ballot language they submitted. And finally, the group allegedly left out a reference a part in the proposed bill that would put regulation of medical cannabis in the hands of the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce.
Well, finally in that it was all DeWine cared to write down. At the end of his summary judgment, he cautions that the letter sent to the petitioners “is not intended to represent an exhaustive list of all defects in the submitted summary.”
Basically, he’s not going to make it easy on these guys.