While eight states passed various marijuana legislation on Election Day, four Ohio communities voted to decriminalize up to 200 grams or less of cannabis and paraphernalia possession, according to a report from Cleveland.com.
Newark in Licking County, Bellaire in Belmont County, Roseville, on the border of Perry and Muskingum counties, and Logan in Hocking County each passed the reforms, which only affect violations in those municipalities, not the entire county, the report says. Byesville, in Guernsey County, failed to pass their measure.
“If lawmakers don’t want to change the laws, we have the power to change them ourselves and that’s something we have the template to do,” said Bill Schmitt, who lead the Bellaire decriminalization effort.
The communities follow the city of Toledo in marijuana decriminalization, and advocates expect more municipalities to have their own initiatives in 2017 and 2018. The measures make possession a ticketed offense that carries neither fines nor jail time.
Toledo Law Director Adam Loukx said that officers could still choose to charge people with possession under state law but low-level convictions have been rare.
“No one’s called to say the schools have been overrun with pot-fiending hippies,” he said in the report. “But I don’t think there’s been any mass movement toward use of marijuana that’s any different than before the ordinance was adopted.”
A petition drive to decriminalize cannabis is already underway in the city of Cleveland.
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