Lawmakers won't leave cannabis alone
Recreational cannabis is legal in the state of Ohio, but legislators are determined to make changes to the law that was overwhelmingly approved by voters.
Just five decades ago, possessing marijuana could get you 10 to 20 years in prison, and selling it carried a 20 to 40-year sentence. Now, it's not a crime at all, as long as you are over 21 and have a license to sell.
In this week's episode, Republican State Rep. Jaime Callender joins the show to discuss what the General Assembly has planned.
Ohio voters easily passed Issue 2 by a 14-point margin last month. The law allows for the regulated sale and possession of recreational cannabis and even permits Ohioans to grow small amounts of it at home – up to a dozen plants.
However, getting this up and running will take time, and state lawmakers are considering some changes to the law. Among the proposed changes are allowing individual communities to ban marijuana, banning home-grown marijuana, ordering that marijuana be less potent than what voters approved, increasing taxes and changing how tax money is allocated.
Some advocates argue that when Ohio voters decisively passed Issue 2, they did not know exactly what they were voting for. On the eve of marijuana becoming legal, the state senate approved many of these changes, which reduce homegrown marijuana, increase taxes, direct more tax money towards police and prisons and allow for the expungement of prior convictions that would no longer be illegal.
Governor DeWine, who is not a fan of legal marijuana, endorsed the bill. It now moves to the House.
It’s been nearly six months since former House Speaker Larry Householder started his 20-year prison sentence for his role in the House Bill 6 bribery scandal. His co-convict, Matt Borges, is serving five years.
Now, another prominent former state official faces years in prison. This week, a grand jury indicted the state’s former top utility regulator for accepting bribes and embezzling clients. Former Public Utilities Commission chairman Sam Randazzo pleaded not guilty.
If you’ve been listening to The Power Grab podcast, you already know about Sam Randazzo. In fact, if you go back to episode five, the focus is entirely on Sam Randazzo and First Energy—the utility company that claims it paid him a $4 million bribe.
We'll see if more indictments are forthcoming, particularly regarding the former First Energy executives the company alleges were behind the scheme.
Snollygoster of the week
This week, we spotlight the podcast team here at WOSU Public Media.
Reporter Renee Fox and producer Michael De Bonis have devoted months of hard work to their endeavors. They meticulously crafted a carefully laid-out schedule. Their timing proved unexpectedly shrewd when they released the fifth episode, which centered on Sam Randazzo, just a couple of hours before the Justice Department announced his indictment.
This timing was inadvertently, but remarkably, astute, coinciding with the former head of the PUCO preparing for court and providing a terrific explanation of the PUCO's role in the scandal.
If you have a suggestion for our "Snollygoster of the Week" award, a question or a comment, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.