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Ohio lawmakers propose changes to new recreational marijuana law

Marijuana plants are ready for harvest at AT-Calyx Peak Companies of Ohio, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, in Akron, Ohio.
Tony Dejak
Marijuana plants are ready for harvest at AT-Calyx Peak Companies of Ohio, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, in Akron, Ohio.

Ohio voters gave decisive support to Issue 2 in the November election. They passed the issue that legalizes recreational marijuana use for those 21 and older with 57% of the vote. The measures goes into effect on Dec. 7.

Governor Mike DeWine has asked lawmakers to make any tweaks to the law before it goes into effect. Lawmakers are able to make changes to what voters approved because it passed as an initiated statute and not a constitutional amendment.

Several bills have been introduced to tweak the recreational marijuana statute. House Bill 341 from Rep. Gary Click (R-Vickery) would allow local governments to ban marijuana and changes how the tax collected from sales will be distributed.

House Bill 326 would put some of the revenue from sales toward police training. Republican lawmakers are concerned about first responders having to handle crimes related to marijuana abuse such as vehicle crashes.

Ohio lawmakers pursuing changes to voter-approved marijuana measure
Karen Kasler discusses the various bills being proposed at the statehouse.

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce wants lawmakers to make changes such as banning the use of marijuana in public areas both indoors and outdoors.

The supporters that backed the Issue 2 campaign say they are keeping tabs on what lawmakers are doing.

The story tops this week’s discussion of news headlines on the "Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable."

Akron Police complete internal review in fatal shooting of Jayland Walker
Abigail Bottar discusses the internal review that found officers were justified in their use of lethal force.

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb says last week's shooting in Public Square that injured two people speaks to the need for parents to step up. The shooting erupted after the holiday lighting. Both the suspects and victims are underage. Cleveland has been dealing with a shortage of officers but the mayor says police cannot do it all and need parents to do their part too.

Mayor Bibb says parents need to step up
Josh Boose discusses what the mayor had to say about downtown safety in a recent editorial interview with Ideastream reporters.
YSU is being criticized for the hiring Congressman Bill Johnson
Josh Boose discusses the blowback YSU is getting from donors and students.

Youngstown State University is still getting blowback after it selected United States Republican Congressman Bill Johnson as its new president. Johnson is currently representing Ohio's 6th district in Congress which includes eastern and southeastern Ohio, including Mahoning County. Some major donors are threatening to withdraw support. Johnson is a close ally of former president Trump and voted to overturn the 2020 election.

Ohio receives $110 million in forever chemicals lawsuit settlement
Josh Boose discusses the lawsuit settlement involving a group of chemicals known as PFAS.

Ohio will receive $110 million as part of a settlement with three chemical companies over so-called "forever chemicals" that caused water and air contamination in Southeast Ohio. The state sued the companies including Dupont over the use of a group of chemicals known as PFAS. PFAS is an abbreviation for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Ohio alleged in its lawsuit that the companies dumped half a million pounds of synthetics into the Ohio River and released the substances into the air. Mike DeWine filed the lawsuit in 2018 when he was Ohio’s attorney general.

OSHP releases initial report in fatal bus crash that killed Tusky Valley students and three adults.
Abigail Bottar discusses the findings in the Highway Patrol's report and its sequence of events in the chain-reaction crash.

A preliminary report and body-cam footage released this week by the Ohio State Highway Patrol gives more details on what happened in a chain-reaction crash that claimed the lives of three Tusky Valley students and three adults last month. The students—all members of the marching band—were traveling on a charter bus to Columbus when the crash occurred on Interstate 70 in Licking County. The adults were traveling in an SUV behind the bus.

-Abigail Bottar, Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
-Josh Boose, Assistant Producer for Newscasts, Ideastream Public Media
-Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV

Watch the show in the player below.

Leigh Barr is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and the "Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable."