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‘Can I buy marijuana online?’ and more legal weed questions answered | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


Since Issue 2, the law to legalize recreational marijuana, passed on election night, WEWS/OCJ viewers and readers have been writing in to ask what this means. Ohio Statehouse reporter Morgan Trau breaks it down with the help of some legal experts.

This is the second in a series of answering questions about marijuana policy in the state.

About 57% of voters approved of recreational marijuana, leading to many questions from both supporters and opponents. We brought them to Case Western Reserve University law Jonathan Entin.

We have already answered some basic questions, like: When/Where/How can I smoke? Can I be evicted? Can I be drug tested at work? Click here to read the answers.

With Dec. 7 approaching rapidly, cannabis users are getting excited to legally smoke in Ohio. However, they won’t be able to immediately buy marijuana in stores. The state’s cannabis division has to be established and has to write rules, meaning it’s estimated stores won’t be open for about a year.

Monday’s questions delve into what you can do in the meantime.

Can I drive to Michigan, where recreational marijuana is legal already, and bring back weed?

“There are several answers to this question,” Entin said.

It all deals with interstate commerce. As a matter of federal law — no, you’re not supposed to be able to cross state lines to buy and bring back marijuana. However, the feds typically don’t get involved in these cases, Entin added, leaving states to decide their rules.

“We will really have to see how Ohio law enforcement wants to deal with these things,” he said. “It doesn’t seem to violate Ohio law for people to go outside the state and engage in a lawful transaction in that place and then bring the marijuana back.”

However, if an officer pulls over someone driving with weed, then they can feasibly charge them with a federal crime.

Unfortunately for Ohio State fans, Michigan is winning this battle, too.

Michigan has been welcoming sales from Ohioans since their legalization in 2018. And for the next year, without stores in Ohio, they will likely continue getting Buckeye sales. Still, some Michigan dispensaries are feeling uncertain, according to News 5 partner station WXYZ in Detroit.

Can I buy marijuana online and have it shipped to Ohio?

No. All legal experts agree that federal law prohibits mail-order weed.

There has been some confusion that you can buy marijuana online, but that is only in some states, like Michigan, where you can pre-order or do delivery from an actual dispensary through an app. This also requires a valid ID and amount limitations on purchases.

“There is at least a question about whether it’s legal for you to buy marijuana seeds online,” Entin said.

You will be allowed to home-grow up to six plants, but you need seeds to do that. It’s debated whether you can drive across state lines or order them on the internet. Some marijuana experts say that you can because the seeds contain such low levels of THC.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued guidance on their website that under the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, the Drug Enforcement Administration no longer has the authority to seize and criminalize sending or buying seeds with less than .3% THC. The DEA has also given this statement to numerous attorneys around the country with the same advice, including specifically addressing cannabis.

Even so, Entin says you should be careful doing that.

“We have a lot of uncertain legal issues here and people who just assume that everything will be fine — well, maybe they’re right, but they also could be in for a big surprise if that’s not true,” Entin said.

Could we be looking at changes before the law goes into effect?

Yes, but it’s unlikely to be a massive change, according to House Speaker Jason Stephens.

Gov. Mike DeWine has three main priorities to address: guardrails for children, tax policy and safety on the roads.

DeWine wants to prevent weed exposure in kids by changing where people can smoke, limiting access to products like edibles and putting guidelines around advertising.

The leaders also want to change tax policy by moving sales tax from a social equity program to local law enforcement. This could then help with preventing high drivers, DeWine’s spokesperson Dan Tierney said.

The lawmakers are also considering the THC levels allowed.

“The tax rate, where that money is going — in my opinion, doesn’t have to be decided by December 6,” Stephens said. “They can be decided as we move further down the line.”

He wants to make sure that some needs, such as child safety, are being addressed first since there is a 9-month regulatory period for the secondary issues to be decided.

As of right now, GOP and Democratic leadership seem to be agreeing on all of the major proposed regulations — protecting kids and giving more money to local governments that would have these dispensaries. It is unclear if there will be a fully formed bill before their deadline.

 

This article was originally published on News5Cleveland.com and is published in the Ohio Capital Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.

Follow WEWS statehouse reporter Morgan Trau on Twitter and Facebook.

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