Nic Balzer is using his savings to start a marijuana-related business – before the drug is even legalized in Ohio.
It’s a risk Balzer and partner Robert Ryan started taking on last year, prior to a failed ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
They attended a marijuana business conference the day after the failed November initiative from ResponsibleOhio. There, they got an idea: “We don’t have to wait another year for a ballot initiative,” Balzer said. “We can start producing something that’s derived from hemp.”
They’re biding their time, hoping Ohio lawmakers approve state legislation – House Bill 523– or voters approve a constitutional amendment to allow sick Ohioans to use marijuana for medicine. The bill at the Statehouse has passed the Ohio House of Representatives, while the Senate amended it this week. One key sticking point is while some hope to add more privileges for employees who legally use marijuana, business groups are pushing for protections to be able to drug test and fire workers who use the drug.