CINCINNATI (WKRC) – Ohioans voted decisively to legalize marijuana Tuesday, but it’s looking like they may not get the law they thought they were getting.
Gov. Mike DeWine is calling on lawmakers to make changes to Issue 2 before it takes effect December 7.
“We have an obligation to make sure that this is done right,” DeWine said Friday.
DeWine said he’s spoken to lawmakers and asked them to craft the law so that children are protected from marijuana.
As written, marijuana use is only legal for adults 21 and up, but DeWine wants lawmakers to focus on marijuana ads and accidental edible consumption.
“The packaging probably needs to not be bright and attractive to a child. Probably, it needs to not resemble that of a candy wrapper,” said Lisa Mertz, with Addiction Services Council.
National poison control centers got more than 10,000 calls about edibles in a 17-month period, according to an FDA report. Of those calls, 77% involved someone 19 years old or younger.
“There is a lot of research that use under the age of 19 of marijuana can affect that brain development, particularly in the frontal lobe,” said Mertz.
Marijuana advocates said rewriting the law isn’t necessary because Ohio’s Department of Commerce already has nine months to make its own rules.
“Once that’s done, Ohio’s going to have child-proof, tamper-evident packaging on all marijuana products. There will be rules in place governing advertising,” said Tom Haren, with the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.
Haren said if lawmakers had problems with the way Issue 2 was worded, the time to address it was before it went on the ballot.
“To come back to the table and say, ‘Well, we don’t trust Ohio voters to know what’s best for themselves,’ you know, it does sort of rub me the wrong way,” said Haren.
DeWine said other goals for revised marijuana legislation would be to prevent unwanted secondhand smoke exposure and limit the number of marijuana-related DUIs.
DeWine said he wants a new law drafted and approved before Issue 2 takes effect.