A bipartisan group of Ohio state lawmakers reintroduced a recreational marijuana legalization bill this week.
Separately, a signature-gathering drive continues for a long-gestating adult-use legalization ballot initiative that could go before voters in November.
Ohio lawmakers have previously tried to legalize adult use via the legislative process, but without success.
A similar bill was introduced in the Ohio General Assembly in 2021 but didn’t receive a hearing.
If House Bill 168, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Jamie Callender and Democratic state Rep. Casey Weinstein, were to be heard and become law:
Marijuana would be legal to cultivate and possess for Ohioans 21 and older.
Retail cannabis sales would be taxed at 10%, the same rate the ballot initiative proposes.
Criminal convictions for marijuana cultivation and possession could be expunged.
Commercial cultivation, processing and sales would be regulated by a newly renamed Division of Marijuana Control, which would oversee both medical and adult-use cannabis.
“It’s time for Ohio to act on this before we fall too much further behind our neighbors,” Weinstein said in a news release.
“Adult-use is good for our economy, good for our justice system, and the right thing to do.”
Limited polling last year showed a majority of Ohio voters favor legalization.
Earlier this year, lawmakers declined to enact language from a ballot proposal that a court challenge kept off Ohio’s November 2022 ballot.
The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has until July 5 to collect roughly 124,000 signatures from registered voters in half of Ohio’s 88 counties.