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New Ohio marijuana legalization bill drafted by Republican lawmaker

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Ohio lawmakers soon will have a second marijuana legalization proposal in front of them, and this one will come from a Republican.

The forthcoming bill, sponsored by Concord Republican Rep. Jamie Callender, is similar to other proposals in that it would build on the state’s existing medical marijuana program.

Current medical marijuana cultivators, processors and dispensary owners would be allowed to operate on the recreational side, Callender said in an interview. Adults age 21 and older could buy, possess and grow marijuana.

The bill also would provide a way for Ohioans convicted of marijuana crimes eliminated in the bill to have their records sealed or expunged.

“As a society, we’ve reached a point where it’s not the taboo thing it used to be,” Callender said.

Callender says “three or four” Republicans support his bill, but legislative leaders and Gov. Mike DeWine do not. Callender said he got a “diplomatic” response from House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima. Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, said recently he’s opposed to legalization.

“I was opposed to it when it was on the ballot,” Huffman told USA TODAY Network Ohio in August, referring to an unsuccessful 2015 constitutional amendment. “I am opposed to it now.” [Read more at The Cincinnati Enquirer]

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