What to expect when recreational marijuana becomes legal in Ohio this week

CLEVELAND (WJW) – With just a few days to go before recreational weed becomes legal in Ohio a lot of confusion remains, especially when it comes to purchasing cannabis.

“It’s extremely confusing,” Cleveland School of Cannabis President Tyrone Russell said. “It’s extremely confusing because there is a lot of misinformation.”

The state is still separating the seeds and the stems when it comes to selling marijuana at dispensaries.

“On Dec. 7, you won’t be able to say, ‘Okay, tomorrow I’m going to a dispensary’ because there still is a licensing process that has to take place for those places to be able to dispense marijuana for adult use,” he said.

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Ohioans with a medical marijuana card will be the only ones who can purchase from dispensaries, at least until the framework is set. That could be six to nine months from now according to Pete Nischt, VP of compliance and communication with Klutch Cannabis.

But that raises the question, if people can’t buy from a dispensary, do they turn to a drug dealer for a supply?

“So there’s this misconception that all of a sudden, once cannabis is legal, right? All of the people who didn’t want to do it are now going to do it because it’s legal,” Russell said. “And what I believe is the folks who have been following the rules as it’s been stated and implemented by the government, they’re going to continue to wait until the government is finished implementing it the right way. They’re not just going to start going out and say, ‘hey, I can do it now. Let’s now break the law because it’s legal.’ Those folks who have been following those rules are going to wait for the process to play itself out.

Russell also thinks while home grow will be legal as well, few have the skill and patience to start that process to get around the supply issue. But didn’t rule it out.

“I would not ever recommend ever going to a drug dealer to get your drugs of choice, and in this case marijuana to legally grow in your home,” Brunswick Hills Chief of Police Tim Sopkovich said.

Sopkovich said police departments across the state will be facing a learning curve once this becomes legal when it comes to enforcement and testing for THC levels in the case of suspected impaired drivers.

“I think there’s a lot of holes in this law,” Sopkovich said. “A lot of unanswered questions. It makes it confusing on the law enforcement side. We’re here to serve and protect. It’s kind of hard for us to have those questions and answers for the public if we don’t really know what we’re doing on that. So there has to be some organized training. There has to be something some clear, direct guidance in this law.”

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Sopkovich’s top concern surrounds impaired driving and hopes Ohioans will remember to be responsible with cannabis use.

He also said Brunswick Hills police will enforce the new law as it is written.

“If you have 2.5 ounces of marijuana in your possession, we’re not going to cite you and we’re not going to arrest you,” he said. “Anything more than that, then we’ll take appropriate action.”

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