Bars, restaurants could be fined, lose liquor license if they allow marijuana

There is still confusion after Issue 2 passed in Ohio last November.

Most voters thought it legalized the sale, purchase, and use of marijuana, but that hasn’t proved true so far.

The state Division of Liquor Control is now weighing in on marijuana regulation.

“It’s a tremendous amount of work every day,” Laura Zeller said.

Zeller and her husband Brandon bought the Organ Express about eight months ago from a family that had owned it for over 40 years.

They’re pouring their heart and soul into the business.

“My husband and I think it is our responsibility to take it and bring energy into it for the next 40 years,” Laura said.

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The couple has a lot of challenges, like any small business owner.

And a lot of liquor regulations.

Now the state is adding more pressure, telling bar owners no one can smoke marijuana on their patios or inside their businesses.

“Ohio law, there is still a rule that prohibits the use of controlled substances on the premises of liquor control permit holders and on the federal level, marijuana is still a controlled substance,” Paul Kulwinksi, acting director of the Ohio Department of Liquor Control said.

Kulwinksi sent this announcement and warning to all bar owners.

But for the Zellers, who are busy rolling out their new Sunday hours, it’s another burden.

“It is confusing and I appreciate the guidelines from liquor control and we are going to have to educate the public,” Laura said.

The penalty for someone smoking marijuana is a minor misdemeanor.

For a business, being found in violation can lead to fines or a loss of liquor license.