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Friday, August 5, 2016
Legislature aware part of Ohio pot law legally questionable
SUNDAY, JULY 24 – FILE – In this Oct. 20, 2015, file photo, Shamay Flaharty of Lewiston, Ill., who has multiple sclerosis and is hoping cannabis will help ease her pain and headaches, meets with ... more
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Apparently unconstitutional portions of Ohio's medical marijuana law, which set aside a percentage of the state's pot licenses for minorities, were spotted during legislative debate but left in the bill to gain needed votes, a key lawmaker says.
State Sen. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, said legally prickly provisions exposed by The Associated Press in June may require changes. The law takes effect Sept. 8, at which point a new panel will begin laying out a blueprint for how the new industry will work.
"I certainly think it's something the (Medical) Marijuana Advisory Committee ought to take a look at," Seitz said. "Because we're not just talking about government contracts, but government licenses." Changes may wind up in a marijuana corrective bill that emerges in the lame duck session.
The benchmarks are contained in legislation that was fast-tracked by the Republican-controlled Legislature to head off a medical marijuana proposal that was on its way to Ohio's fall ballot. Ohio is the 25th state to legalize medicinal cannabis.
They require at least 15 percent of Ohio's cultivator, processor, retail dispensary and laboratory licenses to go to the businesses of one of four economically disadvantaged minority groups — blacks, Hispanics, Asians or Native Americans — so long as an adequate number apply.