Ohio marijuana law: Here’s the latest we know

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

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On Thursday, it became legal in Ohio for adults 21 and over to possess a limited amount of marijuana, the result of voters approving Issue 2 in November. But the new law created a cloud of confusion as enforcement issues are revealed and state lawmakers continue tinkering with the law.

Here’s the latest we know:

• High level view: Here’s a story breaking down the key points of the new law, including who can and can’t partake, limits on where it can be used, and more.

- One key point: It’s legal to have it, but not legal to buy it (yet).

- Another key point: Employers and landlords can prohibit its use, and federal law says gun owners can’t possess ganja.

• Challenge for employers: Reporter Tom Gnau talked to area employers and trade groups about how they are grappling with the new law. Many want drug-free workplaces to promote safety (and keep insurance rates down), but in a tight labor market that might make it harder to find employees.

• No smoking patio: Don’t expect bars to allow you to use it on their patio, even if they allow smoking tobacco products. The state says bars and restaurants could risk action against their liquor license if they allow toking on property.

• Haze of uncertainty: Even as the law went into effect, local police departments said they were formulating policies on enforcement. And lawyers say things like traffic stops will be a challenge, since there is no breathalyzer for weed.

- Another issue: K-9 officers are trained to alert their handlers if they smell marijuana, which is probable cause to search the vehicle. Now that possession is legal, the dogs are no longer properly trained.

• Dispensing with dispensaries: Many local cities are passing long- and short-term moratoriums on new marijuana-related businesses opening in their jurisdictions. Most recently, this includes Springboro, preceded by Kettering, Centerville Beavercreek, Troy and other cities.

• Policy improvement, or buzz kill?: State lawmakers meanwhile are aggressively working on adding limits to the law, such as reducing how many plants you can grow, reducing THC content, raising the tax rate and adding restrictions on where it can be used. Changes may be voted on this week.

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