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recreational marijuana sales draw nearer after state panel oks rules capitol letter
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Recreational marijuana sales draw nearer after state panel OKs rules: Capitol Letter

Rotunda Rumblings For the budding industry: The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review on Monday afternoon waived through 11 marijuana rules, notably including one that spells out the application for dual-use dispensary licenses by medical retailers, which is necessary for Ohio adults to purchase cannabis legally. The applications will be published by the Division of Cannabis Control on June 7, possibly sooner, Laura Hancock reports. He can dig it: Construction has begun on hundreds of millions of dollars of improvements that are planned for the Ohio State Fairgrounds. Andrew Tobias writes that Gov. Mike DeWine participated in a ceremonial groundbreaking on Monday, where officials described two new buildings that they said would be complete in 2026, as well as other plans that include a new entrance gate at the northern end of the fairground, upgraded Wi-Fi and other utility improvements and a “town square” that will cap a landscaping redesign. DeWine, who has spearheaded the work, has asked lawmakers to approve spending $386 million for the improvements, the first phase of an ambitious “2050 Expo” plan that future governors could take up. Money please: Monday was the annual “Day Without Childcare” in Ohio, as more than 250 centers around the state closed to show their importance to the state’s economy and workforce. As Jeremy Pelzer reports, many of those providers traveled to the Ohio Statehouse for a rally to call for state officials to put more money into childcare, both to recruit more workers and make it more affordable. Sitting in: U.S. Sen. JD Vance and an entourage of other supporters of President Donald Trump popped in on his criminal trial Monday to provide backup. And tweets. As Jake Zuckerman reports, Vance – a rumored vice-presidential contender – referred to the trial as a form of “psychological torture” against Trump. Legal eagle: Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge is joining the Taft Stettinius & Hollister law firm as a partner in its Cleveland office and to serve as its firmwide chair of public policy, Sabrina Eaton writes. She’ll dedicate some of her time to the law firm’s ongoing efforts to combat the harmful effects of forever chemicals, and the firm said in a release that it anticipates her presence will bolster its relationships with government and corporate leaders in Ohio and nationally. Infrastructure is infrastructure: As part of Infrastructure Week, the White House is launching an “Infrastructure Week” public relations blitz to highlight all the money it’s delivered for public works projects. It says Ohio has got $12.8 billion in public money for clean energy, infrastructure and manufacturing, with $11.9 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure law alone announced for 488 Ohio projects. Eaton has details. Mask off, or else: A Xavier student and a graduate protesting Israel’s ongoing invasion of Palestine were charged with felonies that have never been invoked in Hamilton County before, The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Cameron Knight reports. The pair were charged with trespassing, a misdemeanor. But because they wore medical face masks, they were also charged with an 1800s era felony used to target the Ku Klux Klan that prohibits the commission of a crime while wearing disguises. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison. Attorney General Dave Yost recently called attention to the law, and the possibility for felony charges for students protesting on college campuses. Committed: Pending House legislation would expand the criteria for which police officers can hospitalize people with certain mental illnesses against their will, Erin Glynn of the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau reports. The legislation would apply to people who have been diagnosed with one of five mental health conditions and who either refused treatment or failed to keep up with their medication. Deep Dive: The New York Times published a story Sunday examining Republican Senate candidate Bernie Moreno’s background, particularly scrutinizing the story Moreno has told voters describing his family’s decision to leave everything in Colombia that eventually led to Moreno’s success in business here. The story says “the reality isn’t so tidy” and, doing reporting in Colombia and Florida, gets into details of Moreno’s wealthy Colombian family and his family’s early years in the United States. Technical difficulties: The arraignment of ex-Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder was delayed Monday because of what was described as a “lack of technology” at the federal prison he’s currently housed in, Cory Shaffer reports. The hearing will proceed Friday. What we’re watching this week The House is in, the Senate is out. So no floor sessions. Otherwise: 1. The House Ways and Means committee is scheduled to vote on legislation Tuesday to cure what a sponsor referred to as a “double taxation effect” for tech-based 3rd party distributors of non-food items like Instacart. 2. The Ways and Means will also hear more testimony on legislation to zero out Ohio’s income tax over the next six years and to repeal the commercial activity tax after 2029. 3. The House Government Oversight Committee is scheduled to hear introductory testimony on legislation to prohibit “unauthorized displays” on highways and bridges 4. The same committee will hear introductory testimony on legislation to prohibit the carrying of a “mass casualty” weapon 5. The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel could release this week (we’ve had our hopes crushed before) two internal investigations into FirstEnergy’s corporate misconduct, initiated after the arrest of ex-Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder. On the Move The train advocates of All Aboard Ohio hired John Easterly as a new executive director Birthdays Kaitlyn Fillhart, deputy press secretary for the Ohio House Republicans Straight From The Source “I’ve got my handy-dandy map up on my GPS app, so I know where the closest ones are, wherever I am in Ohio.” -Ohio Rep. Jamie Callender, who is ready to legally purchase marijuana on day one of the state’s recreational sales program, which could launch by mid-June. Capitol Letter is a daily briefing providing succinct, timely information for those who care deeply about the decisions made by state government. Subscribe to get Capitol Letter in your email box each weekday for free.

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