Cincinnati Police

Jordan Andrews

Ohio Citizens Seek Decriminalization; Police Will Continue Arrests

Voters in the city of Norwood, Ohio have collected enough signatures to get a cannabis decriminalization measure on the town’s ballot but police said they will continue to charge offenders under state law even if the measure passes, as reported by The Cincinnati Enquirer.

“This [ballot issue] deals with Norwood’s codified ordinance and doesn’t have anything to do with state law. We really wouldn’t change how we do things. We would simply, from the very beginning, charge them under state code.” –Norwood Police Chief William Kramer via The Cincinnati Enquirer

The ballot measure’s language removes fines and jail time for possession of under 200 grams–almost half a pound–of cannabis. Supporters of the measure collected almost double the amount of signatures required to get the measure on the ballot. A similar measure that the campaign, called “Sensible Norwood,” tried to put on the ballot in 2016 failed to advance past the verification of signatures. The 2016 measure included language preventing police from circumventing the local law change by charging offenders with state-level violations.

In response to Chief Kramer’s comments, the founding President of Sensible Norwood Amy Wolfinbarger said:

“With legalization sweeping the nation the way it is, I just don’t think its appropriate. I feel like you would just be looking your constituents in the face and saying we don’t care how you feel about this issue.” –Amy Wolfinbarger via The Cincinnati Enquirer

Ohio has legalized medical cannabis at the state level. That program is expected to launch September 8th, with sales to patients by the end of the year.

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