Axios Columbus

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Happy Thursday, everybody.

🌧 Today's weather: More rain with a chance of early snow. Ugh. High of 47.

🚨 Situational awareness: Track road closures and flood warnings at ohgo.com, an interactive map maintained by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

  • Keep scrolling for a reminder of why this is important.

ğŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Columbus member Darby Schaaf!

ğŸŽµ Sounds like: "Affirmation Song" by Snoop Dogg and Doggyland. (Kid friendly!)

Today's newsletter is 768 words — a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: 🔮 When weed sales will begin

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Ohioans could be legally buying recreational marijuana as early as this summer — but the exact timing is still unclear.

Why it matters: Marijuana has been legal to possess since a voter-backed measure went into effect Dec. 7, but there is still no legal avenue to buy it.

The big picture: Gov. Mike DeWine has decried the situation as "goofy" and shared concerns that it would embolden the black market.

  • State lawmakers attempted to amend the law to speed up the sales timeline and address those concerns, but legislative efforts went nowhere.

The latest: Earlier this week Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens told reporters his caucus was unable to reach a consensus on how to move forward with the issue.

  • The state Senate had sent the House legislation in December that would have allowed recreational sales at existing medical dispensaries to begin 90 days after the bill was signed.

Between the lines: Legalization advocates aren't particularly upset that the Senate's bill didn't pass.

  • It contained provisions that had drawn criticism by redirecting tax revenues from social equity programs to law enforcement and jail construction.

The intrigue: The state's regulatory machinery is moving faster than expected to implement the law, Tom Haren, a spokesman for the Ohio Cannabis Coalition, which represents dozens of state cannabis businesses, tells Axios.

What they're saying: Haren says he's focused squarely on work by state regulators with the Division of Cannabis Control to implement the law as passed by voters. He offered effusive praise for their work so far, which he called fast and smooth.

  • "We're months away from having adult-use sales here in Ohio," he tells Axios.

What's next: The division is on track to meet or beat a June 7 deadline for licensure applications to go live.

  • From there, Haren expects quick approval for existing medical dispensaries to begin recreational sales by summer's end.

What we're watching: Expect a longer runway, however, for new dispensaries that aren't part of the state's existing medical marijuana program — operations Haren says will likely take about a year to get off the ground.

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2. 🤔 Ask Axios: Can I watch the eclipse at home?

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Reader Chris B. asks: Will the eclipse be televised?

We've highlighted many of the best places in Ohio to view the April 8 total solar eclipse in person.

Yes, but: With so many visitors flocking here from across the country to be part of eclipse-mania, we don't blame some for considering virtual viewing options.

How to watch (at home): NASA will broadcast the rare phenomenon live from 1-4pm on NASA TV, nasa.gov, the NASA app and on YouTube.

  • The American Astronomical Society is tracking other live streams on its website.

📬 If you've got a question, we'll track down the answer. Hit reply and Ask Axios.

3. Throwback Thursday: The trailblazing Scioto Trail

A historical marker for the Scioto Trail in Upper Arlington, seen in snowier times. Photos: Tyler Buchanan/Axios

Our Franklin County Historical Marker tour brings us to Upper Arlington for a trail once considered the most important in the Old Northwest.

The marker: Scioto Trail, on the path just south of 2875 Lane Road.

Flashback: Native Americans built trails following waterways like this one that runs alongside the Scioto River.

  • The trail once stretched all the way from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.
  • It was used for warfare, trade and migration, the marker reads, and much later it guided the building of Route 33 through Franklin County.
A historical marker showing a map of the Scioto Trail through Ohio.
A map of the former Scioto Trail through Ohio.

Today, a newer route called the Scioto Trail travels along the river and through parts of downtown.

The intrigue: Near the marker is the burial site of Kihue (also known as Bill Moose), whose epitaph calls him the "last of the Wyandots" in the area.

  • Kihue died in 1937 at 99 years old and a 9-foot memorial structure was built using boulders from the nearby river.

4️⃣3️⃣ down, 85 to go.

— Thanks to our series sponsor Ohio History Connection. Sponsorship has no influence on editorial content.

A memorial for Bill Moose made out of boulders.
A memorial for Bill Moose next to the marker.

4. Nutshells: Your local news roundup

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios.

🗳 The number of provisional ballots rejected for lack of proper identification has spiked since Ohio's new voter ID law went into effect last year. (Ohio Capital Journal)

ğŸŽ« Women's NCAA Final Four tickets in Cleveland are 47% more expensive than the men's Final Four, fueled by stars like Iowa's Caitlin Clark. (Axios Cleveland)

ğŸŽµ Twenty One Pilots will return to their hometown for an October concert as part of "The Clancy World Tour." (WBNS-TV)

👀 Blue Jackets star Patrik Laine is listing his downtown, 4,031-square-foot condo for $2.75 million. (Dispatch)

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5. 😬 "A very expensive lesson"

Via X from Ohio Department of Transportation spokesperson Matt Bruning.

Heavy rains led to severe flooding this week in parts of Central Ohio, including the junction of I-270 and Route 23 in southern Columbus.

Yes, but: That didn't stop this Maserati driver, who was rescued from the floodwaters yesterday morning.

This newsletter was edited by Lindsey Erdody and copy edited by Kate Sommers-Dawes and Anjelica Tan.

Our picks:

ğŸ˜Ž Tyler would never put his Maserati in danger like that ... if he had one.

👶 Alissa is on maternity leave.