2 Northeast Ohio legislators introduce bill that would legalize recreational marijuana
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A pair of Democratic state representatives from the Northeast Ohio region have proposed legislation that would legalize the use of recreational marijuana.
The bill, introduced by State Reps. Casey Weinstein, of Hudson, and Terrence Upchurch, of Cleveland, focuses on decriminalization, taxing, licensing for commerce, and medical marijuana use.
“It’s time to lead Ohio forward,” said State Rep. Weinstein. “This is a big step for criminal justice reform, for our veterans, for economic opportunity, and for our individual liberties.”
If passed, the legislation would also allow adults to legally cultivate and possess marijuana for personal use.
A portion of the tax collected from marijuana retailers or micro-businesses would be distributed to help fund Ohio’s schools, infrastructure, and medical research, according to the bill’s sponsors.
“This bill is much needed in Ohio, and it’s time for Ohio to become a national leader in marijuana decriminalization and legalization,” State Rep. Upchurch said. “This bill is more than just about legalization, it’s about economic and workforce development, it’s about decriminalization, and it’s about healthcare.”
Mark Kovalsky of Mayfield Heights says it’s an issue that’s not going away. He feels it could have a positive impact on the state’s economy, and even provide more job opportunities. “More people do it than you think and more people that you wouldn’t think do it — are doing it and partaking in it. It’s here. That’s all there is to it, and it’s not changing,” he said.
Kovalsky is on board “if the money from it can be allocated to the right places, the right resources to better the community. Better the community by not just throwing money at problems, actually doing something about the problems with that money.”
Andre LaVette of North Randall says legalizing the drug could cut down on crime and violence.
“I think it would be great because everybody sneaking around buying it,” he said. “They getting shot for it. If you legalize it, you wouldn’t have all the robberies.”
The recreational marijuana proposal will next be assigned a bill number and committee for review.
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